“I think that together we can solve crime a lot better than you just relying on the police, or us just relying on you.”
And that’s exactly why dozens turned out to the first district community meeting Monday night held by Alderman Van Johnson and other city leaders.
“It just shows that the residents of the first district are engaged, are involved, and they want to know, and thats what this is all about it. we have so much rumors and innuendo in our community, and this is an opportunity for people to get first-hand whats going on in our district,” Johnson says.
Officers with Chatham County discussed the importance of community policing, and stressed the “see something, say something” mantra. As well as teamwork between the police and the community. some said policing starts in the home.
“You cant put all this on the police, you cant put all of this on city council, you cant put all this on the mayor, you cant put all this on Van Johnson, you got to be the police in your own house.”
For Lawanda Tillman, she says the meeting is a great first step, but more needs to be done.
“I think safety is a plan in progress, but unless we address the economic, the educational, the social, of all communities, then we’re going to continue to have these crime problems.”
Several neighbors said there aren’t enough lights, sidewalks, and more police presence is needed, and alderman Johnson says its all of those contributing to high crime on the west side.
“We know when we talk about things like police and public safety that its really more than police officers, its communities, its lighting, its structural types of things that contribute to crime.”
For Tillman it all goes back to economic growth.
“We’ve got to develop people, we’ve got to develop people.”