You can make Western Tidewater safer

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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Franklin City Council’s discussion about recent incidents of violent crime in the city brings to mind a point that we’ve felt compelled to bring up from time to time. That is, residents in both the city and Southampton County can — and should — step up to do their part in prevention and resolution.

We could go on and on recalling recent crimes, but you can readily find the details of those incidents and more in our paper.

Franklin Police Chief Steve Patterson also has pleaded for community support, noting that when anyone witnesses a crime, they should come forward to law enforcement, even if it’s done through anonymous tips. Patterson made the strong point that the family of the murder victim deserves to know why their relative was killed. In fact, everyone should ask themselves what would be their reaction if someone close to them were inexplicably murdered. It’s difficult to fathom that anyone would merely shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh, well.”

One might suggest, “Hire more police or deputies.” If the respective agencies could readily do so, they likely would and that could help reduce crime regionally. But good help is hard to find and keep in this area. Understandably, many prospective candidates are lured away by larger paychecks. For now, we can only ask the chief and Sheriff Josh A. Wyche Sr. to continue their searching.

Meanwhile, it all comes down to you. As Councilman Greg McLemore put it, “If you see something, you have to say something.”

As previously suggested, form watch groups. Looking out with and for the people in your neighborhood can be a strong step. Contact law enforcement about providing other ways to prevent crime. When the time comes to assemble in larger numbers, invite police or deputies to speak to your group, civic or social club. Bond with them because they are here to serve and protect you.

Keeping silent when you witness a crime doesn’t truly shield anyone, it only makes criminals more brazen to strike again and again until somehow, sometime, they find you.

You can report anonymously to the Franklin/Southampton Crime Solvers at 757-653-2900.