Violence, like any societal ill, doesn’t make people feel better because it may be in remission. Regardless of whether crime is actually down in our City, if taxpayers don’t feel a sense of security and peace then we haven’t done our jobs as elected officials to provide it to them. It is incumbent upon local leaders to stop finding consolation in numbers and to instead lead the fight for an even safer City than statistics show. Let me be clear, our City is far from a haven for criminals despite desperate attempts from some observers to try and paint it that way.
Yet, headlines dominate our newsfeeds and doorsteps detailing one horrific crime after another and they are impossible to ignore. From the Southside to Federal Hill, random acts of violence know no boundaries and can happen to anyone at any time. This was especially true this past summer. Just these past few days, our City suffered its 11th and 12th homicides of the year which is already more than last year. In the former case, an innocent young woman was shot while out celebrating her 19th birthday with friends.
Some leaders will respond to these heartbreaking incidents by citing that 12 homicides aren’t as bad as the 30 we had in the year 2000, and I find that upsetting.
Local leaders shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back because ‘crime is down’ and they have the statistics to prove it. We should instead be focusing on the problem areas that remain and allocating the resources to combat them.
I’m not naive enough to think that we’ll ever eliminate violence from the City completely, but I’m a firm believer that nothing bad can come from trying to do just that.
In the coming weeks, I will publish a set of recommendations my office has been working on to help address some of the night time issues we’ve been experiencing. I look forward to working with my colleagues at both the local and state level to make real changes that promote public safety and enhance the quality of life for our residents.