Citizens air crime concerns to council

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2007

FRANKLIN—Crime was one of the primary targets of concern among residents who spoke to the City Council during a town meeting Monday night.

The meeting was held during regular council session to give citizens a chance to suggest topics for the council to discuss during its upcoming retreat scheduled for Nov. 16 at the Business Incubator building.


also gave residents a chance to address issues and make comments.

Ellis Crum of Queens Lane was worried about a recent &uot;rash of shootings&uot; in the city.

&uot;As a member of the ministerial alliance, I’m concerned,&uot; he said. &uot;Our police chief has come before you and said, ‘I need more officers.’&uot;

Mayor Jim Councill noted the need for &uot;a change of culture.&uot;

Crum commended the work by three city council members, Johnson, Rosa Lawrence and Mary Hilliard, for working with the churches to get Neighborhood Watch programs going.

&uot;Somehow the culture has shifted, even in the three years I’ve been here,&uot; he said. &uot; I think the pastors can solve some of these problems, but not without a partnership with the city.&uot; He suggested members of council and city officials get out into the general public more when incidents arise to show people &uot;someone besides the police department cares,&uot; he said. &uot;It lets them know they are not in this alone.&uot;

James Riddick of Chestnut Street recalled a time of youth in 1968 when there were only two officers on night shift.

&uot;I had a mishap,&uot; he said.

His mother made him walk to the police station to turn himself in. When Riddick found no one in the station, his mother made him go back and leave a note telling the officers to come to the house.

&uot;At that time two officers was all it took,&uot; he said.

Riddick has experienced multiple incidents of vandalism to and theft from vehicles at his home, and a recent shooting took place down the street from his home. He compared Franklin today to New Jack City, a fictitious place in a movie about organized crime taking over the area.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Rosa Lawrence said that citizens are frightened.

&uot;It’s really getting pretty bad,&uot; she said. &uot;People in the community are crying out for help. Some people are still afraid to call the police.&uot;

Gregory McLemore of Madison Street offered some suggestions while residents await more officers.

&uot;As a city, we could increase lighting on the streets where crime takes place,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve also talked to a probation officer and expressed a desire to establish red zones, places where convicted people wouldn’t be allowed to hang out without violating their probation.

&uot;It might carry more weight

if the city expresses an interest in this in cooperation with the probation office,&uot; he said.

An additional proposal by McLemore was to petition local legislators to establish a &uot;no loitering&uot; ordinance.

A plea for more lighting also came from Linda Dickerson of Ashton Avenue. While she and some of her neighbor’s buildings are equipped with motion detector lights, she said the street is dark. Dickerson wasn’t sure if the problem was the number of existing poles or the number of poles without lamps.

Vice Mayor Johnson said the issue will be brought up at the retreat.