Crime prevention needed in Urbana

Letter published in News-Gazette 27 July 2006

I wish to express my disappointment about the mayor and city council in Urbana. I attended and spoke at the last city council meeting regarding my concerns about large groups of middle school students last spring, up to 40 of them in a group, walking down my street. These kids would block traffic driving down the street, intimidate homeowners, trespass, knock over leaf bags, trash cans and the like, while taunting not only the neighbors outside but the police who were called.

I went to the council meeting to ask for help to address this issue. The response was cool at best, and was clearly a refusal to take any responsibility for addressing this problem. I suppose I’m most disappointed because I thought it was the city leaders who are responsible for the safety of citizens and property in Urbana. I hoped the mayor and council would be farsighted enough to see a potential problem and would want to intervene.

It’s not everyday that you know when a law is going to be broken and you can be there before it starts. This is called prevention. The only questions from the council members were about “where I lived.”

I have talked to neighbors about this problem but many are moving away because of it and, truthfully, if the teenagers disrespect the police, what impact can we citizens have who live three or four blocks away? To tell the truth, I am worried for my 11-year-old son’s safety, because what happens when these “kids” become high schoolers?

David Bowman
Urbana

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