A few weeks ago, there was a police chase that began in Searcy and ended in a hostage situation.
Other than violent crime, there have also been several break-ins in the community, particularly in the area I live in, a neighborhood called Sunnyhill.
Many of you probably remember when I had my mower and trailer stolen last year, just a few months before the election. Just before that happened, my neighbor had his backhoe and truck stolen. It made big news in the paper because he found the truck and backhoe himself–as he and his wife were traveling through Mississippi. (unfortunately, I never found my mower…maybe I should’ve taken a road trip to Oxford)
A few weeks ago, another neighbor’s car was vandalized three nights in a row. They got my truck one night as well.
Recently, there has also been a string of break-ins. Last night, a neighbor’s garage and cars were broken into. Today, another neighbor told me that his cars were broken into twice over the last six months.
Now, you are probably asking yourself why I am writing this. No, I’m not going to start sitting by the scanner every night and reporting every crime rumor I hear. However, I realized tonight that many in our community are not aware of what is going on and may not be taking proper precautions.
If you’ve grown up in Searcy like I have, you know we are an incredibly trusting community. You probably know someone who leaves their keys in their car at night, doesn’t lock their house, or lets their kids run around all over the neighborhood until dark (or later). We don’t think twice about this. It’s just the way things are around here. We are a small town community that takes pride in respecting our neighbors and being generally trusting of people in our town. As the late Dr. Jimmy Carr famously said, “We are a city where thousands live as millions wish they could.”
I believe that saying is still true, but we need to realize that Searcy is changing.
We are no longer just a small, Christian community of 10,000. We are a growing city in the middle of a county that is plagued by rampant drug use and abject poverty–people who seem to have figured out that we are a very trusting community and that we often fail to take basic safety precautions. The state of the overall economy is also not helping things.
I am concerned that many are continuing to live in the past and ignore the realities of where we are today. They do this at their own peril. I do not intend to scare anyone, but we need to collectively wake up in this community and realize the world we live in before things get really bad.
Here are a few things that city officials and former law enforcement officers have shared with me, as well as some of my own advice about what we can do to reverse the tide:
- Lock up your belongings. Your car, your home, your garage (and your lawn mowers!)
- Be vigilant. The police can only see so much on their own. They need our help. Stay attentive to what is going on when you are out in the city, especially at night. I have witnessed and reported several crimes this year. Do your part.
- Report crimes you witness or experience. Many times victims of crimes do not report them because they don’t want the hassle or they aren’t concerned about covering the costs of their lost items. Even fewer report crimes they witness. If you witness a crime, you have a duty to report it. The police department will use these reports to find patterns and direct their patrols. You can always dial 9-1-1 or contact the Searcy Police dispatch office at (501) 268-3531
- Exercise your 2nd Amendment rights. This should probably be the first suggestion. (And what better way to celebrate the 220nd anniversary of the Bill of Rights today?) We have a constitutional right to bear arms for a reason. There is only so much police officers can do. They do the best they can, but at the end of the day, it’s up to us to protect ourselves.
Also, for those who do live in my part of town: I did speak with Mayor Morris today and he assured me that the SPD will be increasing their patrols in our area. Hopefully this will help as well.