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Showing posts from August, 2007

How to stop a thousand crimes

Well, it happened again, right under our noses, another home invasion - ugly, violent and scary. It's happening with alarming frequency in our town and this particular time, it was in the apartment complex on Northwood drive – the old Woodhollow apartments where Goose Creek runs under Garth Road.

Is it time to throw our hands up and surrender to criminals, or should we demand our city leaders do something?" "How can I as an ordinary citizen make a difference? Is it already too late?" "Should I crawl into my safe place and hide? I just wish there is something I could do!" "Why doesn't the police department do something?" "I'm too afraid to go shopping in Baytown".

These are questions and statements Baytonians are making. People are asking what the solution is and I'm going to answer them here today in this column, so get your pencil ready. The way to stop a thousand crimes is by stopping one crime at a time.

*In the wee mi…

United We Stand

As I sit at my desk writing this weeks column, Hurricane Dean is “screaming into the Gulf”, as one reporter put it. I checked the National Weather Service web site and the storm hasn’t even made it to Jamaica. I’m almost afraid to turn the radio dial to KTRH 740 AM, because they are probably giving minute-by-minute updates.

My first experience with a hurricane took place in July of 1970. It wasn’t much of a storm as far as hurricanes go and I sat it out with friends at an apartment complex in Pasadena. I don’t even remember its name.

Move forward to 1983 and I saw what a bad storm could do. Hurricane Alicia slammed into my side of Baytown, swallowing Brownwood and pushing my house into a bind. I lost my garage, eleven trees and my electricity for about a month. My wife and I and our two babies sat it out in the dark, wind howling and screaming and making the noise a locomotive makes when it’s under a full load.

About 3am, a limb flew through my living room window. We were helples…

Crime-fighting group sets next meeting

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun Published August 16, 2007

A citizens group aiming to curb crime in Baytown will hold a second meeting Sept. 10, this one featuring a more prominent role for the city and the Baytown Police Department.

The group first met Aug. 7 at the El Toro restaurant on Garth Road, where organizers solicited written comments from citizens fed up with rising crime in the area. The written comments, which number more than 30, will form the basis of a recommendation to Baytown City Council. But Bert Marshall, one of the group’s founders, said going before Council is still “down the road.”

“We’re not trying to do a blitzkrieg on the city,” Marshall said. “We’re trying to make Baytown safer and keep it that way. We’re trying to cut through all the red tape and see what the citizens themselves can do working with city hall and the police department to have a united effort.”

The meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in a meeting room of the Baytown Community Center, will feature a…

Baytown Concerned Citizens – Front and Center

Whew! A lot has happened here in Baytown since last Sunday’s article. The city of Baytown calls an $82.5 million bond package election, a local teen is charged with felony murder in the deaths of four companions, Garry Brumback is approved as city manager, it is revealed Hakeem Olajuwon has purchased 1,250 acres of undeveloped land in Chambers County near Baytown and a group calling itself Baytown Concerned Citizens is organizing to help City Hall and the Baytown Police Department…fight crime.

Although all are newsworthy and demand attention and comments, I want to address crime and what citizens are doing to bring it into control. As you may have heard, about 70 citizens gathered last Monday night at El Toro’s on Garth Road for a whirlwind meeting to address the crime problem.

Input from citizens will be presented to city council in the near future in the form of recommendations – not demands. Send recommendations and concerns via email here:

Let’s look back ab…

Group talks about how to make Baytown safer

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun
Published August 7, 2007

More than 70 citizens packed the back room of El Toro on Monday night to begin the process of “taking back Baytown” from criminals who some believe have made the area a dangerous place to live in recent months.

The gathering was meant to garner written comments and ideas for how to make Baytown safer, which organizers ultimately hope to bring before City Council at a future meeting. The organizers themselves are folks who banded together on Baytown Talk, The Baytown Sun’s community message board, spurred by a letter in the newspaper about a reported assault at Barracuda Beach Club.

“Everyone here knows that crime is out of hand,” said Bert Marshall, who chaired the meeting. “People here are tired of the crime, they’re scared of the crime, and they want to do something about it.”

Marshall said the meeting would create a “course of action” that culled all the ideas and concerns of citizens into a working plan. But in the mean tim…

‘We want changes’

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun
Published August 8, 2007

If feedback from a Monday meeting at El Toro is any indication, Baytonians fed up with increased crime want more officers, more vigilant neighbors and a commitment from the city to tighten up security at retail stores and public places.

The meeting was meant to create a course of action for reducing crime in n Baytown. Organizers are sifting through about 30 written comments from citizens that will serve as the basis for a comprehensive plan to make the city safer.

“We need changes now,” reads a typical comment. “No matter what the stats say, we have a crime problem. That should be the No. 1 priority.”

Bert Marshall said the group would analyze the comments and streamline them into a series of recommendations to Baytown City Council. Marshall did not say when they would make a presentation, though he said it was at least a month away.

“We will go before the city because we want to go on the record with our recommendations,” Mar…

The bottom line - Get involved.

It would be civically irresponsible of me as a local citizen, if I did not address the ongoing issue of crime in Baytown and surrounding areas.

For some time I’ve read the daily postings on the city of Baytown Police webpage concerning crime reports and as I’ve repeatedly stated, crime is escalating, not just in frequency, but in nature. Criminals are getting bolder and more violent and we hard-working, bread and butter Baytonians are afraid we will be the next victim.

I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like worrying if my car is going to be there when I come out of a store. I don’t want to have to warn my wife about crime every time she leaves the house.

The recent letter to the Baytown Sun concerning a fight at the Barracuda night club, formerly Tiki Bay, has set off a maelstrom of citizen demands for city officials and the police department to “do something”. Once again we Baytonians are up in arms over crime, but I fear emotion is pushing this particular wave and if – something…