Keeping neighborhoods safe

Long Reach: Resurgent crime shows that police and residents must remain vigilant.

September 16, 2001

WHEN THE HotSpot Program came to Columbia's Long Reach Village, the immediate impact was a plunge in crime.

But a recent crime surge shows that it takes more than slapping a police logo on a storefront window to keep crime in check.

The lull of a false sense of security in Long Reach ended this summer when 15 to 20 people chased a man from the Long Reach Village Center to a residential street and stabbed him. Since that attack, the community has been rocked by incidents of assault, burglaries and vandalism.

It will take continued vigilance by police, residents and businesses to restore safety.

Police have responded with more foot and bicycle control officers around the village center, but the police chief acknowledged that he can't afford to keep pouring that many resources into one community.

So it was encouraging to hear residents say recently that they were willing to step up - to help troubled youths and keep an eye out for trouble.

A large church in the area may be drafted into action, which would help a lot.

It will take continued vigilance by all elements of the community to create and maintain safe neighborhoods.

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