Rocky Mount expresses crime concern

January 28, 2008 5:45:58 PM PST
Fourteen murders in 2007 and three killings within the first month of 2008, is sparking concern in Rocky Mount.

On Monday, the Rocky Mount City Council met with police to get a dose of reality on crime throughout the city.

Even if crime may not be as bad as some think it is, there is plenty to be done according to town leaders. The 14 murders are the most in twelve years and just two shy of Rocky Mount's record.

One was the high profile case of a Meals On Wheels volunteer stabbed to death at a prominent church.

That may have heighted the perception of out-of-control crime in the city. So some were surprised to hear what the police chief told the city council.

"Overall we're down, overall crime, by three percent in the city of Rocky Mount," Rocky Mount Police Chief, John Manley said.

However, some say that depends on where you live. One council member spoke of brothers he knew in a neighborhood near where he lives and works that account for a lot of crime.

"Everywhere they go there's drug sales, there's prostitution, there's shootings and imminently there's going to be a death. Because of two guys that somebody won't put in prison and keep in prison." Rocky Mount City Councilor, John Manley said.

The chief said he too is frustrated by criminals his department arrests and cannot keep off the streets.

"There's about probably 15 to 25 people that continue to terrorize the community over and over and over. They're demoralizing the community, demoralizing the officers," Manley said.

Community activist Doris Marshburn says she has seen it first hand and some of the responsibility falls on citizens like herself, citizens who could help by turning in criminals.

"As they would say, 'you don't want to rock the boat.' But we're going to have to rock somebody's boat because otherwise we're going to lose our young people and they're our future," Marshburn said.

The chief agreed and said more community involvement is part of his plan. But some council members told the chief there were some fingers to be pointed and if he couldn't point, they would.

"You might not be able to say it politically because of your need to have a working relationship, but I'm saying as a citizen and as a city council member, the District Attorney's Office needs to be more aggressive," Rocky Mount City Councilor, Ruben Blackwell said.

The District Attorney's office did not return calls to Eyewitness News for a response.

Though, council members indicated they were willing to do their part to see that the police plan to reduce crime succeeds.


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