06/24/06 — Brave neighbors: Residents take a stand against crime

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Brave neighbors: Residents take a stand against crime

There is a new kind of bravery hitting Wayne County — residents who simply do not want to put up anymore with crime in their back yards.

This past week, the call came from about 10 residents in Fremont, who came before their community leaders and asked for something to be done about the noise, drugs and other crime that they say are regular parts of their lives.

This is not the first time Fremont residents have visited their town board to discuss crime in their community, they said. Others have approached community leaders several times over the last few years with the same complaint.

But now, said the citizens who addressed the Fremont Town Board this past week, the problem is even worse.

They cited many of the same concerns others have mentioned in connection with their neighborhoods — public intoxication, illegal drug activity and out-of-control youths. Littering and a lack of a curfew for youths also were listed as reasons for someone to take action.

The sad fact is, they are not alone in their concerns.

Not too long ago, residents in a couple of neighborhoods in Goldsboro expressed some of the same frustration and concerns during a city-sponsored public meeting to discuss what officials could do to improve the lives of the families who live there.

They asked for more control, more enforcement and more action.

They, too, cited drug activity and other crime as well as noise and problem youths.

And like their compatriots in Fremont, they wanted to know what the city is going to do about the problem.

The truth is, there is a lot being done. Goldsboro police, Fremont police and Wayne County Sheriff’s Department deputies are patrolling, investigating and getting as many offenders as they can off the streets.

The problem is there are just so many to catch, and so few officers to handle the work.

Controlling crime is not as clear cut as it once was.

So, simply announcing that any official in any agency will simply cut crime is not realistic or honest.

The first step to stopping crime in any neighborhood is for residents like those who stood up in Fremont last week to tell officers what they know and to vow to be a part of the solution in their neighborhood.

Community watch programs as well as calls to police when there is suspicious activity are critical first steps to catching the offenders.

Strict rules and enforcement also can make a difference.

Those who stood up in Fremont and in Goldsboro should be commended. It is not easy to say what needs to be said in a public forum.

Now, it will be up to both communities — in concert with their law enforcement personnel and leaders — to take back their neighborhoods.

Published in Editorials on June 24, 2006 11:38 PM