There is every reason to demand that law enforcement take a more active role in curbing the violence that plagues our neighborhoods. But the real answer lies in the willingness of residents to assert ownership of their communities.
One way of doing so is for people to be willing to cooperate with the police. But many refuse to do so because they do not want to be labeled snitches. Others mind their own business for fear of retaliation.
Still others just do not trust the police, with good reason. In Miami, for example, several young black men were killed by officers in highly questionable circumstances. Also, Miami Gardens has gained national notoriety for the heavy-handed tactics of its police force.
Law enforcement has an obligation to win the confidence of residents if the police are to have greater success in curbing crime, especially those involving violence. But our communities cannot afford to wait and it appears that some of them are starting to play a more active role in mobilizing residents to take control of their neighborhoods.
The Rev. W.L. Strange Jr. of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Miami’s Liberty City organized a rally on Saturday through an initiative named “Call A Pastor” to bring attention to several unsolved fatal shootings. On the flip side, a forum in Miami Gardens this weekend will focus on how crime victims can pursue compensation. Here, too, pastors are in the lead, including the Rev. Gregory Thompson, president of the African American Council of Christian Clergy.
The concern of Mr. Derrick McCray, owner of McCray’s Backyard BBQ of West Palm Beach, over a number of fatal shootings, including the killing of an 18-month-old child, has grown into a “Peace & Feast in the Neighborhood” rally set for June 27 in Riviera Beach.
Other communities have organized similar activities to call attention to the impact of violence. More of them should do so and show that they will no longer allow themselves to be held hostage by the very small few who have no compunction about killing their fellow human beings, even infants.