Saturday, August 25, 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 midnight hour I was parking my car - In this dimly lit town, I was attacked by two thugs, who took me for a mug - and shoved me down on the ground…

If we as citizens want to make a difference in crime, we have to support each other and the Baytown Police department. It sounds so simple, how could it possibly be the answer? Our new City Manager and the Mayor are making crime a number one priority.

On September 10th, at the next meeting of the group known as Baytown Concerned Citizens (BCC), we are going to ask city hall to initiate a much more aggressive stance on traffic violators, because the number one way to catch a crook is by pulling them over for a traffic violation. Criminals have the greatest disregard for the law and the easiest way to break the law - is in a car. BPD will be asked to push resources to get more traffic cops active. There is a direct correlation between catching crooks with warrants and pulling people over for tickets.

Baytown experiences as many as four hit and run accidents every day, a number that is astounding and according to Capt. Clifford, it's because they either do not have insurance or they have warrants. Guess who gets to pay for your car…yuppers, you do. If you are pulled over for a traffic violation and you don't have proof of insurance, you go to jail and your car is impounded and one more offender is removed from our streets. We simply have to have more patrol officers writing tickets.

To all of us hard working honest citizens, what this means is we have to make some adjustments in our driving habits…me included. I've become very relaxed in my compliance to traffic laws.

*And they pulled out a knife, and I fought my way up - As they scampered from the scene. Well this is no New York Street, and there's no Bobby on the beat -And things ain't just what they seem…

Next, we are going to ask BPD to install a substation in the Northwood Drive apartment complex and arrest criminals on what they believe is safe turf. The data afforded us on www.hotpursuit.com shows that this complex is a hotspot where criminals congregate and feel a certain amount of impunity. We want to take that away from them. If they flee like the roaches they are, we'll ask to move the substation to their new rat hole.

We are not going to expect overnight success or results and we know it will take resources and planning and we are going to proceed with patience. The troubles came about slowly and we are willing to accept the fact that the solution will take determination and persistence.

Someone asked me the other day if the BCC group would burn itself out as soon as things get better. I told them we are in it for the long haul and we are approaching this as a long-term effectual work. We are trying to avoid over-zealous knee-jerk reactions actions that ride mainly on emotion and instead focus on promoting behavior changes in law-abiding citizens. We want to make our town a place criminals avoid.

*Who would think this could happen in a city like this? Along Baytown's varied and pleasant streets, and we must remember as we go through September among these dark industry complexes, if there's such a thing as justice we could take them out and flog them in the nearest field - and it might be a lesson to the vermin of the system…

Next, you may be asking how one person can make a difference and I have the answer to that too. We start watching our neighborhood and band together with our neighbors to watch out for each other. If our area has a Neighborhood Watch group already, we join it and urge them to use the www.hotpursuit.com web site to exchange information. If no group exists, then (you – yes you) start one. It takes no special skills or expertise, but using a computer makes it easier to get the
word out.

Can an apartment complex like the one on Northwood Drive, or Village Lane have a Neighborhood Watch group? Absolutely! It is ludicrous to believe that the majority of people in one of these higher crime areas are complicit. Remember Ms. Lillie and her 911's! She called 911 over 2000 times to stop crime in the Oak Edition. Most of these people hate crime and are threatened by the dope, knifings, and prostitution that have a foothold in their complex. Call the Crime Prevention Officer Larry Aldrich at 281-420-5376 and find out what you can do to make your neighborhood safer.

The September 10th 6pm meeting at the community building on Market Street will be the first meeting where citizens will receive instruction by the Crime Prevention Unit. So… Baytown - take heart. Through our help, the Baytown Police Department will knock out crime in our city, one criminal at a time.

* Lyrics - Golden Autumn Day - Van Morrison/BB

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article in today's paper...very well written!

Anonymous said...

These are good ways to deter the crime but not a long term solution. If you really want to help these kids , get them jobs or do what they did in Desoto TX and just tear down the complexes people will spread out or move away but you wont have such tight nit criminal groups. Focus on keep these kids doing something extra in school like football or basketball. Interact with the community and find out what's happening in peoples lives. Alot of family or personal rivalries get labeled as gang or drug crimes.

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