Fight back against violent crimes in our communities

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

According to statistics, violent crimes are at an all-time high in many growing cities.

Until communities consciously unite and fight back, calculating contributors of crime will continue to wreak havoc and death among innocent people. While the public for the most part is looking for the police department and the judicial system to eradicate the problem, it will take a collective effort on the part of individual families, the community, law enforcement agencies, and elected officials to curb and deter this ever-evolving problem. It must be a collaborative effort with everyone doing his or her part.

First we must be realistic and acknowledge that there exist negative elements preying on our fears and lack of preparedness. Unfortunately, lenient laws often protect habitually ruthless criminals. Community members are afraid to report their illicit activities. They even knowingly harbor drug dealers, thieves, and murderers in certain communities.

They ‘don’t snitch’ mentality is prevalent in many neighborhoods, especially predominately Black neighborhoods, and is allowing many perpetrators of heinous crimes to literally go free. Thus you have communities contributing to their own downfall by protecting a few who have no respect for the very community protecting them from the legal system. Adding insult to injury, it is often these same communities left devastated with gang and drug related activities that contribute to aggravated burglaries and shootings, snuffing out the lives of many innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. The really sad part is that there are often witnesses who know who the killer or killers are but refuse to tell.So much for justice.

We must come to the conclusion that we may not be able to save the world, especially older hardcore criminals. By their own admission, record, or recidivism they literally proclaim that they are not interested in help or change.

The African American community knows only too well that there is a disproportionate number of Blacks being targeted or incarcerated when compared to their White counterparts. This practice helps promote a ‘disconnect’ with many African American communities with law enforcement agencies. This must change and the law must be enforced equally with no bias—whether you are blue, green, purple, yellow, black brown or white.

Yes, Blacks are involved in crimes, but so are Whites—and it is wrong. Preferential treatment should not be given to any different race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or economic status. Equal enforcement and treatment is warranted and should be practiced. That is the main concern with people of color. We, like others, abhor crime in our communities and want to feel safe and protected—not victimized by criminals or law enforcement agencies.

We must be serious in working together and enacting changes and consequences instead of merely talking about it. But vital changes need to take place in law enforcement agencies as well as in communities and mutual respect established.

There are so many factors contributing to crime that I can honestly say no one person knows all the answers. But there are some things we can do to help deter or eliminate crime. While poverty is the main contributor promoting crime, it should not give someone a ‘get out of jail free card’ or break. Poverty should not be used as a crutch. The main components in deterring crime should begin with the parents or caretakers of our youth in any community. They have a responsibility to instill morals and values into their children, as well as offering protection and supervision.

Parents should randomly search their children’s rooms or cars for illegal paraphernalia, especially guns. A surprising number of young men with cars are carrying or hiding guns and are blatant contributors to violent crimes in our community.

Children should be supervised by adults at all times. Churches, social clubs, fraternities, sororities, coaches, and community organizers should work together offering safe venues for children to interact and learn acceptable social, athletic, and academic skills. My apologies to the many organizations (especially churches, fraternities, sororities and coaches) already engaged in programs, especially mentoring and tutorial programs attempting to minimize the problem of criminal activity among our youth.

Children in general, particularly Black children, should be taught Black history and be made to realize the contributions, strength, beauty, resilience, and greatness of people of color. Too many young African American youth have low self esteem and manifest self-hate, making it easy to harbor resentment, ill will, and criminal violence toward people who look like them.

When children see people (especially their peers) exhibiting illicit and socially criminal behavior, they should be made to feel safe to speak up and not made to feel like outcasts. Mimicking honorable and respectable behavior should be the rule not the exception. Verbal praise for good behavior should run rampart.

Contrary to how many homeowners may feel about guns, it may be to your benefit to secure a gun and to perfect your skills at the nearest gun range. Aggravated assault and burglaries are up among many young gang bangers, drug addicts, and criminals. Sad as it may seem, they often target older homeowners and many times don’t leave witnesses. It is better to be prepared than to be an innocent casualty.

Communities should definitely be leery of the drug dealers who bring the most devastation and misery. In their quest to make money, they destroy families by aiding drug addiction, leading to the downfall of potentially productive people. The cost of supporting drug addictions drives many addicts to a life of crime, especially burglary and prostitution—eventually leading to death. Drug dealers or peddlers are a detriment, not a friend, to any community.

A curfew should be enforced to help keep bored trouble laden youngsters off the streets unless supervised by a responsible adult. That should apply to all youth, except for young adults working or coming home from work. One must remember most teenage-committed crimes occur at night. You would think that any responsible parent would know whom their child is with. A responsible adult should always supervise children.

More jobs should be made available to young people to keep them busy and from becoming bored. In fact, a decent living wage should be enacted for adults trying to provide for their families. Too many times, those with substantially low incomes are tempted to become involved in crime in a desperate attempt to keep their heads above the water.

Communities as a whole should watch cautiously the suspicious behaviors and actions of others, especially outsiders frequenting their communities. When all is said and done, the saying ‘we are our brothers’ keepers’ applies when it comes to fighting back to maintaining safe crime free communities. We all can do our part to make a difference. Too many innocent people are being killed.