THE CAPTAIN'S CORNER

BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED
ArticleID: 197
Date: 10/2/2006 1:31:00 AM
Written By: CaptainJackson

BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED
by Captain Jackson

We`ve all done it. Expecting Mom to make dinner and do the dishes. Dad to take us to our baseball games on Saturdays. The Police to solve the burglary case and retrieve our stolen property. But in reality, these things are not "givens", they are unique examples of people caring about others.

Seven years ago, before the rebirth of the "loop" area there were only a few businesses open after 5:00pm and downtown residents were afraid to leave their apartments after dark. Since then we have seen a new Consumers Energy headquarters, Daryl`s Downtown, Bella Notte, The Swan Creek Candle Shop, to name but a few, doing successful business downtown with customers feeling safe to visit the area. But just why do downtown businesses and residents feel safe? Could it be because a local neighborhood watch group has been working in that district for the past six and a half years? And now that the downtown area is officially the safest, some wonder why we still make our public appearances.

When The CRIMEFIGHTER CORPS began patrolling the downtown district in early 2000, it was almost a ghost town---especially after dark. Criminals of all types seemed to invade like aliens from a different planet. But our presence persisted, as did our respect from local business owners, residents, and most importantly, the local police.

We began to do "door checks". Then we were welcomed into the local drinking establishments to meet with patrons as well as mention to the owners regarding customers who might need to take a cab home at the expense of the bar.

Three years ago the biggest problem downtown seemed to be panhandlers who were accosting restaurant patrons going to, or going from, some of the newer "upscale" businesses. Of course, by this time we had a great working relationship with not only the police, but the Prosecuting Attorney office as well. And finally, these business owners were working with us to remove this element from our distinct.

In the past year and a half the biggest problem we`ve encountered seems to be kids on bikes and skateboards trashing city property. Granted, it may seem petty to most, but it`s still a crime and costs the city money.

We have also become active in volunteering with downtown community events. Why? It keeps us busy and in the public view. And, by the same token, it allows us access to our district in case a criminal situation occurs so we can alert the authorities.

So, if the downtown district is so safe and crime free why do we continue to patrol such an area? Our "flamboyant" uniforms make us obvious. Our reputation for reporting any criminal infraction of the law seems very well know. Could it be that our mire presence might just make the bad guys think twice about committing a crime downtown?

Some people have called us "obsolete" and have suggested we retire. And since we don`t receive financial compensation for our duties, this would give us more time to have what most people call "a life". But ask yourself, what could happen if the bad guys knew we were no longer around and no such "group" took our place?

We don`t mind contributing our time for our community to make it a better and safer place. Our methods work, as you know. If you don`t want to take this duty on for yourselves, please do us one favor...just don`t take us for granted.

Copyright 2006 CFC


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