Community needs to come together to fight growing crime

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is there anything we can do about home invasions and strong-armed robberies in the city of Franklin? For those of us who are unable to run away, must we learn how to live with our community’s fate and accept a destiny filled with terror?

I live close to College Drive, and I saw the yellow tape surrounding the home of the woman beaten by a robber recently. I looked and looked, and I felt dread and sadness for her and her family, for her neighbors and my community.

For me Franklin’s crime problem is not some academic idea. We live in a community where daylight break-ins are common, where shootings are common and where crime is becoming a way of life.

People want quick solutions, and they turn to their political leaders looking for action. Franklin Police Chief Phil Hardison has requested that the City Council allow him to hire more officers in order to beef up local law enforcement. They said no, they don’t have enough money.

Former mayoral candidate Greg McLemore has gone before the City Council many times trying to get street lights put up in areas that don’t have adequate lighting. They told him that they don’t have any money for that. Mayor Jim Councill suggested to the council that they launch a task force to research this issue and make recommendations to the city on a course of action. The rest of the City Council sat there blank.

Why didn’t southside Councilwomen Raystine Johnson, Mary Hilliard and Rosa Lawrence crack their lips and say something? With the mayor they had a majority, so why didn’t they make a motion and vote for the task force? Only they know.

So far, from what I can see, the City Council has done absolutely nothing to address this problem. Maybe Councill is the only one on the City Council who cares about crime.

When the City Council interviewed David Benton for a recent school board appointment, he said that the school board didn’t want the kids wearing ghetto-style clothing in the school, and that was one of many reasons for them implementing the school system’s uniform policy. He later said that the schools had to serve food such as pizza, doughnuts and chicken to get the parents out to school functions.

City Councilwomen Hilliard and Lawrence were outraged that Benton could be so insensitive to Franklin’s black community as to mention serving chicken in order to get parents out. Well, I’m asking Hilliard and Lawrence where is their outrage for our crime problem? We, the black community, are being shot at, shot down, broken into, invaded, terrorized and tormented by gangsters, thugs, thieves and crazed maniacs. If you could do so much talking about Benton and chicken eating, you should be able to really say something about horror and death on our streets and in our homes.

It is clear to me that Franklin’s City Council needs the citizens to motivate them into action. We need to help them. Tell them this:

The task force is a way to look for other options. Establish the task force and begin the process of looking for solutions to our crime problems.

We should use city recreation as a tool for crime prevention. Reactivate the recreation advisory committee, and update the mission of the committee to make recommendation on crime prevention.

People want to be heard, so hold a public hearing on street crime. We can come together, and move forward.

There are areas that need lighting, and to be cleaned, the council should hold a public hearing addressing the Department of Public Works’ role in fighting crime.

We must put crime on the political table, and the southside councilwomen need to speak up and vote with the mayor for us. There is no easy, quick fix, for our crime problem, but our community is smart enough to figure out workable solutions,

Let’s come together and make a difference by talking to our city council.