Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mounting Inequities

Downtown Greensboro boosters (among which I count myself) are surely happy to hear that the city council is responding to their requests for a stronger police presence in the center city on those crowded weekend nights.

According to the News & Record,

"We have been screaming for more security since 2000," John Lomax, who lives in and co-owns the Kress Building on South Elm Street, told city leaders in a recent meeting on the topic. "It's running away our customers. I would like to see some action."

Starting this weekend, police say, as many as 10 off-duty officers will be paid overtime to work the night shift downtown. Previously, only two or three officers might be patrolling the 20-block area on a given night."
Some councilmembers have endorsed horse-mounted patrols.

Sounds good to me. Every business should be able to operate without fear of crime. And the downtown merchants are afraid that one serious crime -- a stabbing, shooting, or just a fight -- might drive away their business.

But I doubt that they're as afraid as the business owners and residents of Phillips Avenue area, who are not just afraid that a shooting, stabbing, or fight might happen. They're afraid because they happen all the time.

Ben Holder has been on this for a long time, -- read it all -- but here's a summary of crimes at only two addresses in the past year according to Ben's investigation:
Assaults: 5
Auto thefts: 7
Burglaries: 18
Fights: 26
Narcotics arrests: 52
Robberies: 3
Suicides: 1
No business can thrive, no person can lead a decent life, under such conditions.

So why is no one calling for mounted police on Phillips Avenue?


Glenwood said...

cuz poor people dont matter

spcoon said...

thanks for making the point, david (and doing the grunt work, ben). now what can we do to pressure city council to refocus their priorities?

David Wharton said...

Good question, Sean.

I would want to know first how much the people on Phillips Avenue want more police presence, and if so, what kind they want. (I doubt it would be mounted officers.)

The Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro would be a place to start, and also Goldie Wells, the district 2 representative.

But with the police department currently in disarray . . .

One thing I liked about David Wray was his committment to community policing, and that makes his fall even more dismaying to me.

Billy Jones said...

As one whose family has lived but 2 blocks from Phillips Avenue since 1958 I have to concure with the Troublemaker staff. The city of Greensboro really doesn't give a damn about the poor working class.