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Local opinion columnists

What we can do about crime

By From page A11 | April 24, 2014

Last week’s column about a fictional 8-year-old boy named Malcolm growing up in a troubled neighborhood and becoming a killer was well received. I wanted to get people thinking about what could’ve been done to help Malcolm choose a different path.

But some wanted to know what we should do about the violence plaguing the city right now. From a law enforcement standpoint, I’ll let police and city officials answer that at next Tuesday’s town hall. But as for us . . .

  • Start a Neighborhood Watch program in your area. There don’t have to be weekly meetings. An initial meeting and maybe a block party every six months may be all you need. If your neighbors have each other’s phone numbers and email addresses, it’s easy to keep everyone informed. An organized group calling police and documenting crimes are more eyes and ears for law enforcement.
  • Talk to your kids about reporting suspicious and criminal activity. This is a hard one because our culture is heavily weighted against “snitching.” You have to keep talking about it. When our silence can result in someone being injured or killed, we have to report it. If you’ve had a friend or relative shot or killed and you know something about the crime, how can you stay silent?
  • Can you name your child’s friends? Do you know your child’s whereabouts? If necessary, search their rooms. I know some parents feel that teens should have privacy, but the way I see it is their (and others’) health and safety trumps privacy.
  • Parents are so important to the solution because much of the violent crime we’re seeing is with young people. I used to know a woman who had one son in prison and two others involved in gangs. Whenever her kids got in trouble, it was always the teachers’ fault or the police’s fault. That kind of “parenting” is killing us.

On the other hand, I know a single mother who struggles every day with her teenage son trying to make sure he goes to school and stays out of trouble. It’s hard on her but I admire her for fighting that fight.

By the way, where are the fathers?

  • For trouble with neighbors causing disturbances, loud parties (which can lead to fights and worse) and drug dealing, you should document your calls to police. Contact the landlord if the property is a rental. If problems persist and the landlord isn’t willing to rectify it or evict the problem tenants, take the owner to small-claims court. The city is doing this on a much larger scale but you can do it individually or with your watch group.
  • Business owners might consider hiring some young person from a troubled area who wants to change his life.
  • If you belong to a church, then get them involved in troubled neighborhoods. Liberty Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran and Larry Bluford’s Operation THUGS are just a few of the churches and organizations involved in helping residents in hot spots. There are many others and there’s room for more.
  • Lastly, leave your gun at home. When people feel unsafe, there’s a strong urge to flout the law and carry a concealed weapon. Your home is one thing. But the last thing we need is more guns illegally on the street in the hands of scared people. Peace.

Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]

Kelvin Wade

Kelvin Wade


Discussion | 16 comments

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  • MikeApril 24, 2014 - 5:01 am

    Explain what would you hope to achieve by taking a landlord to small claims? To bring the problem to light, or to embarrass the landowner, what resolution can be done with small claims? Can the court force evictions? I don't know that's why I ask.

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  • Tax PayerApril 24, 2014 - 5:29 am

    It all starts with the family. Over the past 4 decades the family with a mother, father and kids has disappeared in our troubled areas. Mothers have kids by different fathers. Fathers have no interest in raising the kids. Kids then are raised by the streets. A vicious cycle that is continuing to occur each and every day.

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  • Danny BuntinApril 24, 2014 - 3:14 pm

    Hey, your a tax payer - ME TOO. Having both parents chasing the dollar, just to make ends meat does not help either. Kids having kids, is also a major factor.

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  • CD BrooksApril 24, 2014 - 6:43 am

    Great column Kelvin and great suggestions. We folks that have the good fortune of living in a nice friendly neighborhood don't often encounter criminal activity. We have had our share of mail box tampering and there were some cars broken into a few blocks over but we are always looking out and speaking with each other. I agree, the best practice is a "community effort" and communication. Make new friends and look out for one another. Besides, who doesn't like a good BBQ!

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  • Eyes n EarsApril 24, 2014 - 7:07 am

    We are encouraged by police to be their eyes and ears in our neighborhoods. Officers understand that we know the people who in the homes around us and we know who doesn't. Yet the dispatchers are rude and condescending if we call in to report strangers loitering in our neighborhood. "Did he DO something sir?" Not yet.... Dispatchers need to be polite and encouraging to citizens who do as police advise. Hey, here's an idea. How about thanking citizens who report unusual or suspicious activity.

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  • Mayor SanchezApril 24, 2014 - 7:16 am

    Years ago we had problems at the Sunset Avenue apartments. We partnered with the building owner who let our PD use 2 apartment units as police branch offices. It worked. Crime disappeared from that apartment complex. The police are no longer longer there for years now but crime is still in check. The Neighborhood Watch group there is active . They have great BBQ there on yearly Night Out event. Community Policing works.

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  • Christine in FFApril 24, 2014 - 7:46 am

    I saw a case from here in Fairfield/Suisun that was on Judge Judy or Peoples Court. The man was sick and tired of all the parties/commotion coming from his neighbors house. After repeated failed attempts to get things to quiet down there, he took them to court and was awarded the max in small claims court, $5000, plus the tenants being humiliated on national tv. Rich Giddens wasn't the plaintiff! Just felt I had to mention that! Lol

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  • CD BrooksApril 24, 2014 - 7:57 am

    Christine in FF, I heard about the case and I don't know the people personally. But I know folks in the neighborhood and they could not believe the suit was filed let alone settled. I recently won tickets to SC and thought of giving them to Rich. But they were round trip so...

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  • Christine in FFApril 24, 2014 - 8:16 am

    Lol, CD! No round trips for Rich! I'm glad they filed suit. It paid off from what I understand!

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  • Rich GiddensApril 24, 2014 - 9:01 am

    I fly for free on AMC. You don't. And there's lots of C5 and C17 flights between here and Charleston--- a city with full employment, beautiful homes and gardens with NICE POLITE PEOPLE. You need to listen to what I say and if you did, you and your miserable State might receive an education in spite of yourselves. Look at what you're discussing for starts! You and Mayor Pot Hole Pete are still in denial----this as people weigh in here to say your ideas have failed!

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  • CDevil may careApril 24, 2014 - 4:05 pm


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  • Rich GiddensApril 24, 2014 - 8:53 am

    Kelvin doesn't get it----we did all those things on my street! It was the son and daughter of a State Corrections cop who were sponsoring the illegal and nuisance activities----See YouTube ---> Sewer Soon City. The cops are thugs and the politicians are their enablers in CALIFORNIA---a miserable state that's now our nation's largest poverty and ignorance factory! JOB AND WEALTH CRATORS / PRODUCERS! LEAVE CALIFORNIA AND NEW YORK!

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  • BJApril 24, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    "The cops are thugs, the politicians their enablers"..... Yet another blamket statement from big windbag Rich with an axe to grind. Put a sock in it Rich.

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  • JagApril 24, 2014 - 3:32 pm

    A lot of good suggestions Kelvin I was glad to see you wrote keep your gun at home but you did not say don`t buy a gun that was fair I do think you left out one of the biggest things although you may have been trying to stay away from politics is dump Harry and the current city council I just think some new young fresh faces would help the city so much

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  • Allison Ballinger KeeseyApril 26, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Love it ! all of it ! ~ I hope more will do this. As the single parent of one, I fully agree with the idea that parents need to take an proactive place in their childs life. I know it isn't easy believe me , my son will be 27 this June. With the Lords, blessing he is an awesome young man. He and I kept up our communications and he was held responsible for his actions whether good or bad. They need guidance from day one and usually continuing through out our lives. Lets be part of the solution. Thank you Kelvin, for another wonderful article.

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  • CD BrooksApril 26, 2014 - 5:06 pm

    Ms. Keesey, congratulations you should be proud! We keep putting forth the effort and there is the pay-off, a real life adult!

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