August 24, 2010 9:47:00 AM
A group of men dressed like ninjas steals a truck and rams it through the front of a pawnshop. A second group comes back to rob the place again a couple days later. A 13-year-old child (who has been arrested for armed robbery before) holds up a convenience store. Two armed, masked men barge into a tobacco shop, looking to either rob the place or shoot someone before leaving. An 85-year-old woman gardening in her backyard is forced into her home by an unknown man intent on rape, but she escapes.
And that''s just since Thursday.
Does Columbus have a crime problem? Yes.
Is the Columbus Police Department to blame? No. Obviously, the criminals are. But so is anyone who refuses to cooperate with police, or get actively involved in finding solutions.
The City Council called in Police Chief Joseph St. John and his command staff for a special meeting Monday, in part looking for answers on how to stop the rash of robberies, assaults and burglaries plaguing the city in recent days.
The council should look not to the police department for help, but to the people in its own wards. Ask a police officer how much cooperation he or she gets from witnesses or neighbors after a crime occurs. Even when someone tries to rape an 85-year-old woman, not much. Police Lt. Selvain McQueen told councilmen that officers met with "untold" amounts of resistance when questioning neighbors about the incident on Thursday in Northaven Woods. The suspect hasn''t been caught.
It''s time for the good people living in crime-plagued areas, and all areas of the city for that matter, to expect more from their neighbors and from themselves, and to get actively involved in reporting crimes and assisting the police.
We believe the police department is on the right track, with efforts to increase visibility in crime-plagued areas through substations and bicycle patrols, and the formation of a unit to target violence in bars.
We urge the department to keep this focus on visibility. Hiding in the bushes at the Riverwalk isn''t being visible. Parking those same officers in a marked patrol car in a crime-plagued area is.
We''re heartened by St. John''s commitment during Monday''s meeting to reach out to neighborhoods and help them begin neighborhood watch groups. Why wait for the police to come to you? Get together with your neighbors and get involved now by calling the department at 244-3500.
Crime isn''t just the police''s problem. It''s all of our problem, and stopping it begins with each one of us.
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 8/25/2010 6:00:00 AM:
OH BS. You want to get hold of crime here?? Then you need to increase your presence. As it is now, I see a cop car go by my street once, maybe twice, a day. I should be seeing one go by nearly every hour. If a cop is in the area at 8AM and then again at 10PM, that is a lot of free time for morons to do their dirty work. If you had it in your head that there were so many cops patrolling that the odds of one coming by you as you were breaking into that house were dramatically increased, would you still do it, and if you did, wouldn't you be more likely to be caught?
The reason they don't fear you is they know you are stretched beyond your limits already. The odds of being caught are slim, and the odds of getting serious time even slimmer.
Either bulk up, bust some heads, and get real about it, or lay down and act like you're enjoying it, but all the talk-talk is BS.
doj commented at 8/25/2010 9:54:00 AM:
Maybe if we went back to where the punishment for crime was more severe than living under the current system we could control crime, but the liberals outlawed county farms and chain gangs, didn't they? Coddling the criminals is the law of the day. They have "rights". What about our rights?
sharp nasal kent commented at 8/25/2010 3:21:00 PM:
DOJ, if you think being in Parchman is being "coddled" then you've never been there. It's a hellhole.
(Also, chain gangs are not illegal, and as far as I know county farms are not illegal either.)
td commented at 8/25/2010 6:19:00 PM:
We don't have a crime problem in Columbus.
We don't have a gun problem in Columbus.
We don't have a drug problem in Columbus.
We don't have a gang proglem in Columbus.
We don't have a morality problem in Columbus
The problem we do have is a breakdown in time honored traditional family values. Parents need to lead by example (and I'm talking there about rightous living). Parents need to supervise and discipline their children -- no excuses! Parents need to be actively involved in their community, schools and neighborhoods.
Fix that and the crime, gun, drug, gang and morality problems go away.
kat commented at 8/25/2010 10:35:00 PM:
td-what about the woman taking pics of her kids and the grandpa raping his granddaughter? what kind of parents are they? it's not just a parenting problem that you have in Columbus---it's a break down of a city!!!! Columbus has as much crime as a MAJOR city- what the hell is going on? Sounds like Columbus needs to do some housecleaning and get a police chief that can get a grip on all this crime.
doj commented at 8/25/2010 11:54:00 PM:
Sorry Kent, I didn't know you had been locked up at Parchman. Pretty rough, huh? They still have penal farms though. Only ones that I can name are in Hinds County and Fayette Co., AL. Arizona has chain gangs, even including a female one. Alabama, Georgia, and Florida brought them back in the 1990's, but caught hell from the ACLU and SPLC and, not sure of this, reached some sort of settlement and discontinued them. I know from my youth that folks would rather do anything than go back to the county farm, gangs or Parchman. I do know they were a big deterrent to repeat offenses.
gogetum commented at 8/26/2010 9:11:00 AM:
doj has done in hit the nail on the head. kent, kj, hope and others like them want our jails and prisons to become more like living free at the Hilton with all that free room and board with free health care , etc. 96 percent all of them voted for biden/obama and the other 4 percent didn't vote. The majority of crime in Columbus are supporters of liberal dems. That's what it boils down to. Hang in there, doj. I too am an admirer of Sheriff Joe in Arizona , it's too bad that the libs are getting a foot hold in MS and have just about taken over in Columbus. We need a Shriff Joe in every county in our Country. I'd vote for him as our next President.
td commented at 8/26/2010 11:30:00 AM:
Kat, I really feel so sorry for you. Your racial prejudice is very clear in your reply. You lash out at Chief St John. Why? Both the instances you cited -- the mother that took pornographic pictures of her children and the man that raped his granddaughter -- clearly happened in Lowndes County, well outside the city limits and out of Chief St. John's jurisdiction. Why didn't you vent your anger toward the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department.
ckirby commented at 8/26/2010 12:27:00 PM:
As far as I care they can put the inmates to work at the firing range holding targets. Just some humor for nasal skank since he likes to poke people with a stick. But i wonder why nasal skank thinks parchman's a hellhole? No pay per view? No big screen plasma tv? Is the ac not cold enough? How about this? It is what the prisoners make it. If they steal from each other, fight and riot, garbage the place up, vandalize what they have, break anything and everything they can, verbally abuse and threaten the staff then you da** skippy it'll be a hellhole. Kind of like sections of Columbus. Garbage, shootings and stabbings, threats and intimidation, stealing, nobody feels safe and the place look like a dump. you right. Quick way to make what could be livable into a hellhole.
pubby commented at 8/26/2010 2:21:00 PM:
I used to teach carpentry to inmates at the Nouxubee County work camp. Most of the people in there were people on drug charges. One of my students was from Monroe county for the sale of cocaine. He shared a four person cell in Parchman with one guy convicted of capital murder, one guy convicted of murder, and one guy convicted of armed robbery. He told me some very gruesome stories about the state penitentiary. I wouldn't compare it to anything except a "hellhole".
pubby commented at 8/26/2010 2:23:00 PM:
Sorry I meant that the fellow was convicted for the sale of cocaine
doj commented at 8/26/2010 3:01:00 PM:
Pubby, the question is...after learning carpentry from you and getting out into society, did he get a job driving nails and become a good citizen? Or did he revert back to his cocaine selling, because it paid better, and maybe, in his mind, if he got caught again, incarceration was not so terrible a price to pay to make that money. From the spate of crime the past week or so, I wouldn't be surprised if a stranger walked up to somebodys door, that they would shoot first and ask questions later.
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 8/26/2010 4:25:00 PM:
I won't shoot first, but I will let you admire my choice of weapon. :)
ckirby commented at 8/26/2010 4:31:00 PM:
pubby that didn't answer what I asked about who's making the penitentiary a hellhole? The state? The warden? The guards? Or is it the prisoners who are doing it to themselves? What makes it a hellhole other than the people who are sentenced to serve time there? Each one of them has a choice to make something of their time there just like they did when it came down to doing whatever they did that was against the law. Those prisoners have it better than the civilians did in the Warsaw ghetto or the people have in Haiti. Those places are and were hellholes. The state pen is whatever the inmates make of it. If its a hellhole they need to be looking at their conduct and the conduct of their neighbors there. now if somebody knows anything about the state doing something like abusing prisoners or staff not doing their jobs then the press needs to cover it.
pubby commented at 8/27/2010 8:44:00 AM:
ckirby, I wasn't specifically addressing you. I agree with you. The majority of inmates make the penitentiary a hellhole through their violence and depravity. But, you can't really think they're going to make it anything else. If they knew any other way to live other than through violence, they probably wouldn't be there in the first place. Don't misunderstand I have no tolerance or leniency for violent offenders.
doj, I don't know what my former carpentry student is up to. If I had to guess he's probably trying. The only thing they guy knew was selling coke in the hood, and the pen. The way he talked I don't think he wants to go back to prison. He'll have a tough row to hoe that's for sure
sharp nasal kent commented at 8/27/2010 4:01:00 PM:
Thanks for agreeing with me, ckirby. You must have sobered up a bit.
DOJ, thanks for admitting your mistake about the chain gangs and work farms. It takes a big girl to do that. Now... will you agree with ckirby that Parchman is a hellhole and that prisoners are not being "coddled"?
doj commented at 8/27/2010 5:11:00 PM:
No kent, I still believe in both capital and corporal punishment. The prisoners make their own hell by preying on others. If they want to live that way, it's OK with me. I think they deserve what they get. But, if you think that the current system isn't much improved for inmates over the old camp system, you are sadly mistaken.
sharp nasal kent commented at 8/28/2010 10:49:00 AM:
But, if you think that the current system isn't much improved for inmates over the old camp system, you are sadly mistaken.
So you're saying the current system is WORSE for inmates. Which is what you want, right? For them not to be "coddled."
I guess I don't get where you're coming from. First you think inmates have it too good now compared to the old days (they are "coddled" because of their "rights") and now you say they have it worse now compared to the old days.
Which is it?
sharp nasal kent commented at 8/28/2010 10:51:00 AM:
Or did I misread a double negative in place of a single negative? That's possible.
Anyhow, you should really go check out Parchman before you suggest that prisoners there are "coddled", DOJ.
doj commented at 8/28/2010 8:55:00 PM:
kent ... "But, if you think that the current system isn't much improved for inmates over the old camp system, you are sadly mistaken".
You are trying to put words in my mouth and getting confused, but that isn't unusual for you. I'll rewrite it to simplify it for you. You are mistaken if you think that the current system isn't much improved over the old camp system. Is that better for you?
The double negative must be a figment of your imagination. And, I have visited Hinds County Penal Farm, Parchman, Holman, and the Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth as a member of a mission I'm involved with. None are country clubs, but none are like the old camps at Parchman. The hell is created by the prisoners, not the institution.
nativecolumbian commented at 8/29/2010 12:08:00 PM:
If parent(S) would teach what they should be teaching their children; in 1 generation the problessen considerably..Parent(s) of these type people who are committing the crimes should be held accountable and charged with failur to execute their duties as parents. ie teach them disipline, respect, work ethic, and make them understand the value of a good education and the reward for accomplishment..
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 8/29/2010 3:45:00 PM:
The problem is you are attempting to solve the problem by using the same method that isn't producing results.
The only question that remains now is how much longer are you going to do it before you understand this?
When you finally get tired of doing this, call your Congressman and ask for cops to have the right to hunt down the more dangerous criminals, i.e. gang members, terrorist, etc. and shoot to kill on sight.
You'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Ok, start whining now.
2. Voice of the people: Mildred Wiggins LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
3. Our View: A woman's work ... DISPATCH EDITORIALS
4. Possumhaw: Where are the card catalogs? LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Charlie Mitchell: Neighbors 'up north' take a different approach NATIONAL COLUMNS