Police taking action in Raleigh crime

January 13, 2009 3:49:44 PM PST
City leaders are ready to take action after a surge in violent crime and gang activity just over a mile from the heart of downtown. Residents in the College Park and Idlewild Neighborhoods say some of their streets are infested with drug dealing and prostitution at all hours of the day and night.

City leaders held a meeting Tuesday about this issue.

Last year Raleigh saw its highest number of murders since 1970 and the vast majority of them were in one police district --Southeast Raleigh.

City hall is teaming with the Raleigh Police Department to try and get a handle on the situation, starting with one street and expanding block by block.

Flowers still rest on the corner of Tarboro Street and Oakwood Avenue to mark the spot where a 17-year-old was gunned down in late November.

It's just one example of the violence directly across from Saint Augustine's College.

Businesses have to post signs urging people not to deal drugs or loiter and urgent attention is needed says city councilmember James West.

"When you concentrate too much poverty, and people don't have the resources, and don't have the skill sets, they very likely are going to commit crimes." West said.

West says in the longer-term, there needs to be programs for teenagers and work-preparedness training.

But west says, "the first problem is to make the community safe."

So far, police have a mobile unit parked just off Tarboro Street, officers are working inside the community center and patrols have increased in recent weeks in an effort to address crime issues.

Police say residents are responding and are appreciative of the presence.

Councilman West says it's a start.

"Its pretty heavy lifting, but it's got to be done," West said. "If we don't take them away from the gangs, the gangs going to take some of our kids away from us."


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