Crime, police study underway

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

George Vickers grew up during the depression. He said that under those circumstances you had to learn how to fight.

But these days Vickers says he is too old to get out there and fight, &8220;for long anyway.&8221;

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He opened Vickers Jewelry in 1969, and said in all those years they have been robbed and burglarized 24 times.

The last burglary was on Friday, when unknown thieves broke in and made off with an undetermined amount of jewelry.

Dr. Ralph Ioimo of Public Safety Consultants, Inc., who has begun a comprehensive study of the Selma Police Department, said he expects they will be interviewing police officers as early as next week.

Councilman Cecil Williamson, who went as far to say Monday that &8220;martial law&8221; was needed to bring crime under control in Selma, has criticized the embattled department.

Williamson asked for discussion on asking Gov. Bob Riley to send in the National Guard on Monday’s City Council meeting agenda, but

then asked that the item be removed without discussion.

Ioimo, who said he has already met with Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Council President George Evans, thought Williamson’s statements on crime in Selma were &8220;exaggerated.&8221;

Williamson, who has clashed with Police Chief Jimmy Martin over several issues, asked for a list of names of Selma’s certified police officers. Asked by a colleague what he intended to do with the names, Williamson ignored them shaking his head, &8220;no.&8221; Williamson said he would put his request in writing.

Councilman Sam Randolph said he has noticed open-air drug sales, and &8220;people just hanging around on a corner.&8221; Randolph asked if the city had an ordinance against loitering that could possibly be enforced.

Over the past weekend, a 28-year-old was robbed at gunpoint in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Unknown assailants broke into The Restaurant at Grumbles Alleys, a Water Avenue restaurant, and made off with several bottles of alcohol and a television, according to police reports.

On Monday night, Calhoun Foods reported a break-in. Burglars made off with an undetermined amount of cigarettes, according to the police report.

Ioimo’s firm will be paid $48,000 to complete the comprehensive study. Martin has said he looks forward to the study.

Vickers, 82, said when he was growing up in Birmingham they had a fear of the police.

Ioimo said reporting crime is the first step in combatting it, but some victims may be reluctant.