Reducing crime in Selma

Published 8:03 pm Monday, May 30, 2016

By GERALD SHIRLEY | Guest Columnist 

A high crime rate continues to plague the city of Selma. The crime rate tells how often a crime (an illegal or unlawful act) was committed.

A Gallup poll recently ranked Selma as the eighth most dangerous city in America. T

he source of the poll was from the FBI Crime Report statistics, along with population data.

The study revealed violent crimes per 1,000: 13.70, and property crimes per 1,000: 105.05.

Violent crimes are aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery. Property crimes are burglary, arson, larceny-theft and motor theft.

Neighborhoodscout.com indicated that my chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Selma are 1 in 73, in Alabama 1 in 234.

My chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in Selma are 1 in 10, in Alabama 1 in 31.

The fear of crime is in the streets of many American cities. Why is there so much crime in the United States?

There is not a definitive answer or solution. However, some people say it is not difficult for one to become in possession of a gun.

Gun violence in Selma and some other cities is high. The United States has an estimated 283 million guns in civilian hands.

Thirty two percent of U. S. households own a gun. The second amendment to the U. S. Constitution, right to bear arms, has varied interpretation among the citizenry.

Gun violence statistics indicate that more than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country.

Of that number, more than 30 people are shot and murdered each day; one-half of them are between the ages of 18 and 35; one-third are under the age of 20.

Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds; and homicide is the primary cause of death among African-Americans between the ages of 15-24. Stolen guns account for only 10 percent to 15 percent of guns used in crimes.

Strict gun-control laws probably will not stop violent crimes in America.

People must be responsible in their handling of guns and be law-abiding citizens. Fighting crime then becomes the responsibility of each citizen.

Crime is a serious problem in Selma. It tarnishes the city’s image and industry is reluctant to locate here.

More police are needed in the city. Some of the most important activities of the police are the protection of people and their property.

Police are often distrusted by minorities who live in poverty and in high crime areas.

But, studies tend to indicate that the higher the ratio of police to citizens, the lower the crime rate.

We are living in a war zone; but, we do not need to become an armed camp.

Let’s have confidence in the judicial system.

Gerald Shirley is former superintendent of the Selma City Schools system.