Over the past year, I have editorialized on the increasing crime and crime prevention tactics taking place in Five Points. From the beating of Carter Strange, the curfews imposed, the cameras installed…we have watched the unsettling events unfold. During the day, Five Points is a vibrant shopping and dining district, but at night it frequently turns into a drunken brawl. What a shame that the actions of a few tarnish the public perception of this community.
Recent violence resulted in a near police state mobilization last weekend in Five Points, and of course there were no major outbreaks or serious crime. But this is not a sustainable approach to the problems of crime, gang activity, underage drinking and racial tensions in the neighborhood. At some point, Five Points business owners and late night revelers have to exert their own control over bad behavior and take responsibility for the safety of this area. Other violence prone neighborhoods in our city are not receiving the same law enforcement support as Five Points, and this preferential treatment is causing some to claim racial bias on the part of city officials…further stirring the pot of discontent.
Students and other young people will continue to party in Five Points…it's inevitable…but residents, business owners, parents of these young people, and the individuals themselves must demonstrate that they've had enough of crime and violence and want to be part of the solution.