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Community must join law enforcement in working to reduce crime

D

istrict Attorney Ricky Smith was right.

More than 30 people should have turned out and participated in Saturday’s Walk Against Crime.

Like natural disasters, crime has no concern for social standing, race or age. It affects all of us, and people need to be constantly on guard against being a victim or letting their neighbor be a victim. But unlike a natural disaster, we can do something about it.

Law enforcement experts can discuss all the different theories about the causes of crime and the ways to combat it, but the simple truth is that it takes all of us to stop crime. That means all of us have to be aware of what’s going on in our neighborhoods.

There was once a time when neighborhoods were actually close families, where everyone knew everyone and people knew their neighbors and their neighbors’ children. They knew when their neighbors were going out of town or at work. Parents knew where their children were and who their friends were.

Those days, unfortunately, are now gone. We’re a more mobile society and with people moving in and out of neighborhoods it’s hard to get to know the family living next to you.

That’s something that needs to change. We need to get back to those close neighborhoods. That means getting to know our neighbors and participating in neighborhood watch programs.

It means being that “nosey neighbor” who’s looking through the window when they hear a strange sound outside or see that strange car traveling slowly through the neighborhood, or people lurking about a neighbor’s home when we know they’re out of town. It also means knowing where our children are and who their friends are.

As Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong, said, “Take responsibility for your loved ones. We have 16-, 17-year-olds out there doing things that could lead to a criminal record or lead to their death. Know where your children are.”

Crime is not a police problem or a Board of Mayor and Aldermen problem. It is everybody’s problem.

As Armstrong said, “We are only as good as the community we serve.”

It’s time the community got more involved in stopping crime.

Vicksburg has a good police department, but it needs help in the form of eyes and ears.

And that can only come from the city’s residents.