We all have a role to play in public safety

2291

What’s up with all of the recent shootings in Bossier City? Two weeks ago, there seemed to be something happening almost everyday. I’m being asked about this quite often these days, as I am sure so many of you are too. 

My first reaction was that stuff like this doesn’t happen in Bossier. Is this really Bossier? Can this actually be happening in Bossier? In fact that seems to be almost everyone’s reaction. However, no area is totally isolated from these kinds of activities these days. It doesn’t matter where you live.  It can happen anywhere. No doubt, this is one of the sad realities of the times in which we live. 

There are so many positives one can think of when Bossier City or Bossier Parish is mentioned as a topic of conversation. Honestly, Bossier has so much going for it! We all know this to be true. We see it each and every day.  And, as such, I enjoy writing about the exponential  positives in Bossier, as I so often do. When a city has so much going for it as in the case of Bossier City, it is hard and even somewhat disheartening mention any negatives. However, we can’t deny what is happening before our very eyes.  

Crime is not static. It is not predictable. There is no totally predictable set pattern. Pardon the analogy, but it reminds me of a violent storm that can strike anywhere at any time. We have excellent law enforcement in both Bossier City and Bossier Parish. Absolutely! I have also written about that many times, as well. The historically safe environment that our superior level of law enforcement provides is one of the many reasons that people want to reside in Bossier.

But, times have changed. Where crime is involved, we can’t just blindly assume that things will stay the same forever. We can’t just stick our heads in the sand and say  that this kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen in Bossier. And, it is going to take help from us all in order to curtail this trend.  We can’t view this as just a south Bossier problem, a central Bossier problem or a north Bossier problem. This concerns us all. We are all in this together. All of us. This affects the entire parish.    

Our law enforcement authorities can’t be everywhere all of the time. Sure, extra patrol and extra police presence helps, of course. However, we (as public citizens) can also provide extra sets of eyes and ears in reporting anything that appears to be suspicious or questionable. There are also several groups and organizations aimed at deterring crime. In this way, we can all get involved. 

I remember when neighborhood watch programs became popular many years ago. There are still several of these programs in existence today. The Neighborhood Watch street signs posted as you enter particular neighborhoods serve notice to every passerby that this particular neighborhood is on alert. These types of programs provide tremendous benefit to our law enforcement officials. I know that there are many such programs in Bossier, and new groups are currently being formed such as the group recently formed in the Shady Grove/Bellaire neighborhoods in south Bossier City. Two other programs also come to mind. The Bossier Sheriff’s Office LOC Campaign (Lock, Observe and Call) is an excellent program for deterring auto theft. And, the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Posse is a tremendous asset in assisting our Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies in their mission of serving and protecting the residents of Bossier Parish.  

When I was growing up in deep south Shreveport 30-40 years ago, the biggest majority 

of that area back then remained outside of the city limits. Crime was not rampant, but it did exist (mainly home burglaries). So, the neighborhoods all went together and formed a neighborhood watch type of program nicknamed E.R.A.S.E.  Of course, the acronym stood for erasing crime, but what it really stood for was Ellerbe Road Area Security Enforcement. Residents signed up to patrol in shifts not to openly confront suspicious activity, but to aid law enforcement in bring extra sets of eyes and ears in reporting anything that appeared to be questionable. I can still vividly recall a mental picture of the white and blue E.R.A.S.E. window decals

that were made available to the residents os the neighborhoods participating in the crime prevention program. The program worked great. That was then and this is now, but the point is that almost the entire Ellerbe Road area community was engaged and involved in helping to deter crime and protect property. 

Of course, crime is never going to go totally away. It has existed in one form or another since time began. And again, a sad reality of the times in which we live is resulting in an increase in relation to certain types of crimes. However, there are several ways to deter crime in helping to protect our community neighborhoods, such as a few of the examples that I mentioned above. The main thing is that we all must see that see that this problem affects all of us. We can’t ignore the problem or again, we can’t just think of it as a problem that does not affect our particular part of Bossier Parish. This problem impacts us all. Our future growth deeply depends upon our involvement and participation as an entire community.  

Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune.