Our View: A community's problem

August 17, 2011 12:57:00 PM

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You''ve heard that well-worn adage, "It takes a village to raise a child." 

 

It also takes a village to police the community. 

 

A recent string of shootings in the city of Columbus has us wondering what''s wrong with the village in The Friendly City. 

 

There have been four shooting incidents reported to Columbus police in the past 30 days. One was fatal. It''s disturbing, especially in a town where, until recently, we felt safe walking the streets at night.  

 

Interim Police Chief Selvain McQueen is pushing to get more officers on the streets and face to face with residents, an effort we hope can help quash the recent uptick in violent crime. McQueen wants to build community trust in the police force, a commendable goal. 

 

After the most recent shooting incident Sunday, officers were going door to door in the neighborhood, being a listening ear for citizens to voice concerns and also gathering any information on the incident. At least four people were exchanging gunfire on Fifth Street South early Sunday afternoon after an argument that started at a local nightclub. 

 

But keeping the streets safe is not just the responsibility of police.  

 

It takes neighbors looking out for neighbors and parents teaching their children to respect themselves and others. 

 

Somehow we''ve gotten away from the days when we would not turn our heads and sit idly by while our neighbors are burglarized. The days when, if a child needed correction, he got it, whether it was from family or just a community member. 

 

We''re not encouraging bystanders to step into the middle of a gunfight, far from it. But, stopping these outbreaks of violence takes a community effort, and it starts at home. From there, it branches out into the rest of the village, and yes, to the police. 

 

Police officers should lose the tough-guy swagger. Try being more approachable; try to be a listening ear. Solutions only can come when the community and law enforcement work together and we all refuse to accept crime as the norm.  

 

It''s time for us to take our streets back and return to a more peaceful time, when conflicts were not resolved with violence and guns.