Saturday, September 10, 2005

Northwest Greensboro Seethes with Sex Crimes and Robbery

Three crime items in this morning's News & Record caught my attention:

Item 1: two Greensboro men and a teenager were arrested in connection with the sex crimes of taking indecent liberties with a young boy and first-degree statutory rape of a young girl. The two accused men live in the northwest quadrant of the city.

Item 2: a Greensboro man was arrested in connection with the armed robbery of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, also in the northwest quadrant.

Item 3: a teenager playing with a gun in east Greensboro accidentally shot himself.

Now guess: in which news item was city geography (east, northwest, etc.) actually mentioned in the article in addition to the addresses of the people or places involved?

Here's your answer:

GREENSBORO -- A teenager was injured Friday after he accidentally shot himself in the leg, police said.

The incident took place in a wooded area off of Holt's Chapel Road on the east side of the city.

It is the habit of the News & Record when writing these little crime notices to mention city geography whenever the crime takes place on the east side of town, but not when they happen in the wealthier, whiter west and northwest.

Two recent N&R stories have noted that all of this year's murders in Greensboro happened in east Greensboro, but I don't recall them ever mentioning geography in their stories about the many armed robberies that occur in western areas like High Point Road or Battleground Ave.

I believe that the N&R is (probably unconsciously) buying into and promoting the stereotype that northwest Greensboro is "nice," but east Greensboro is "unsafe."

Please stop it.


Darkmoon said...

Looks like I'm safe for now. Southwest... phew.

Jim Rosenberg said...

I completely agree. Put differently, here's a challenge question for the N&R: of what possible relevance is the phrase "on the east side of the city" when you have already given the precise location. As I've said before, I think the solution for nearly all of these issues is the development, then application of fact-based reasonable standards. Here, what is the paper's policy on identifying the location of news stories by quadrant?

Anonymous said...

Very important and good point. There should be an objective standard to follow. The northwest quadrant consists of lots of areas not considered terribly safe by any standard. As one who spends a lot of time driving around in the northwest, I'm telling you, it's scary out there, that is, if you drive a small car, appreciate the speed limit, don't like aggressive guys in gargantuan vehicles two feet off your bumper, and prefer arriving to your destination in one piece. One time a guy hounded me so badly for several miles I eventually just stopped dead in my tracks. I just figured it was my time to die, that he was going to take me out with his shotgun. But ibstead, he gave me that all familar "I love you" gesture and passed me, which he could have done a hundred times already. Northwest school is overcrowded, has a thousand points of entry, has a population consisting of lots of kids who have or use guns, and has an uneasy social class tension between the affluent suburbanites and the natives. It's not all rosy in the northwest.

Anonymous said...

I'd have said - Northwest Greensboro throbs with sex crimes...

David Wharton said...

Throbbing is good . . . rhymes with robbing, too. Wish I'd thought of that!