Residents call attention to safety needs

February 7, 2009 3:58:59 PM PST
Raleigh residents are calling attention to the need for safer streets.Almost three weeks ago, 28-year-old Anthony Wright was shot and killed on Camden Street and police have charged a 15-year-old with his murder. Wright was the third person to die violently on Camden Street since 2005.

Camden and Martin Street residents say they hope the city does not just focus on a suspect and a crime stat. They want people to actually hear about the need for safer streets.

"Bring awareness to this situation, because if you really don't live here, you really don't see it," Raleigh resident Latanya Brown said.

"We're going to have to say to the gangs, in particular our young people; you have got to go with the gang-banging business," neighborhood activist Rev. Hardy Watkins said. "You have to get involved with something that shows all the positive talents that you have."

Raleigh Police had already stepped up their presence less than a mile from the neighborhood. Now, residents say they need to focus on the problem.

"It has changed tremendously," Brown said. "Drugs are very prevalent, prostitution's prevalent."

Residents are not demanding action from others; they say they are looking for help from within. They want neighbors to start with the smaller things.

"When you walk down the street, pick up paper," said Daniel Coleman with the South Central Citizens Advisory Council. "When you see a child that's not doing the right thing, reach out to that child."

The neighborhood group has its hands full. In the past 5 years, police have taken reports on more than 250 crimes on Camden Street.


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