Keeping Nashville safe, a collaborative effort needed

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

The recent senseless deaths in Nashville, especially of two Nashvillians, Jamie Sarrantonio and Bartley Teal outside the Cobra Bar has only cemented what we all know.

Nashville is becoming a magnet or drawing card for rising heinous crimes and illegal activities. Is this the concession we must make for becoming the” It City?” We all know that cities undergoing exponential growth and popularity are prone to increases in crime. The question is how can we work collectively as a city and combat or minimize this impending dilemma?

For the most part it is safe to say that most people love Nashville and are excited as Nashville evolves to reach its full potential. Nashville has so much to offer and some would state that Nashville is still in its infancy in becoming an even bigger and better city. We have a responsibility as residents of Nashville to work together to make the city a safe place for its residents and visitors.

This will take a collaborative effort with the community working hand in with each other and the law enforcement agencies. This may be hard for some in the African American community who see the law enforcement agency as complicit in discriminate acts of unwarranted violence and avert racism against ethnic minorities or people of color. This is a real issue that must be explored and resolved if we are to go forward in making Nashville safer for all.

There will be a referendum in November that allows the Nashville public to vote on a Community Oversight Board to review and investigate complaints against law enforcement officers. This is a must. This is not an indictment against all law enforcement agents, the majority of which we respect and honor but against a handful of policemen who are misusing their authority to disproportionally harass and mistreat people of color. We must also look closely on the training practices and systemic policies that affect how law enforcement agencies police our communities, and make needed changes.

Black people like any other group of people want to feel safe and protected but want the law to be apply fairly to all people regardless of their race, sex, religion, and social and financial status. There are too many factors that dictate the outcome of the law, the law that should be unbiased and applied impartially across the board.

Law breakers or criminals come in all races making it ironic on how there seems to be a disparity in the arrest and incarceration of an unprecedented number of African Americans. African Americans want criminals and murders arrested and incarcerated whether, black white, red, yellow, green or purple. The criminal judicial system shouldn’t make a difference in how a person is adjudicated, but all too often justice is based on one’s race, economical situation, status, or their connections to high standing people in the community. We all know this is a real problem that must be addressed and corrected.

The safety of Nashville will require all parties in the community and law enforcement agencies to work together and develop a mutual sense of respect and trust.

Neighbors must be more cognizant of their neighbors and be quick to report illegal or questionable activities in their communities. All too often there are undesirable criminals in the community wreaking havoc that are being sheltered or protected by the community itself. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent problem in many disadvantaged neighborhoods that must be corrected.

We must make sure the punishment fits the crime, especially for heinous crimes of aggravated robbery and premeditated murder. While some crimes dictate a second or third try at intervention with counseling and probation, we must be mindful that there are incorrigible criminals that exist and their extensive criminal records are usually an indication of where they truly stand.

We must be mindful that victims of heinous crimes need therapy and in many cases never recover mentally or emotionally and those killed have no recourse. The families and love ones of murdered victims are left with a lifelong void, accompanied with pain and hurt. One must also be aware that many perpetrators of heinous crimes are not remorseful of the crime, only upset they got caught.

I wish we lived in a crime free world where everyone respected each other’s right to be safe and protected, but that is not our reality. It will take all of us, families, communities, schools, churches, social and civic organizations, businesses, and law enforcement agencies working together to make this city safe. If you do your part, we are sure to make a difference.