Editorial: Pulling together against crime

Published 7:48 am Monday, March 26, 2018


The best news we’ve heard on the Port Arthur crime front is this: Some folks are tired enough of it they may do something.

We’re referring in part to the “Taking Back Our City March” held Saturday at and around Lamar State College Port Arthur. There, citizens gathered at the behest of a police sergeant who took up the dual role of private citizen in rallying for additional community help against crime. Good for him.

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“This is not a rally; this is a movement,” Patrick Britton said of the march. Well, it’s probably a rally but the citizens themselves can elevate this good start into a sustainable movement, one that will endure past the current crime wave and into a law-abiding future.

Britton rightly said citizens themselves must get involved in fighting crime. That is right on target.

It’s not enough to lament what’s gone wrong around this city, which includes seven homicides through today — two more than all of 2017. Those numbers might have been far worse if the bad guys could shoot straight.

If Port Arthur is going to tackle crime head-on and win, it will take alert, proactive citizens who report crimes as they happen or who tell police about the crimes they saw. It’s not enough to let police handle it; the police are usually called after the crime is over. Police need the public’s eyes and ears.

Port Arthur Sgt. Scott Argo said as much. People see something, but don’t say something, he said. That is to the loss of us all.

“We need to get witnesses to come forward,” he said. “Most crimes are solved through witnesses.”

Most trials are won with witnesses. The greatest fear for a criminal is not necessarily a police officer. It’s a police officer backed by the full faith of a brave and unwavering public that’s unafraid to report crimes and testify honestly and completely against criminals.

Those who wish to help law enforcement but feel compelled to stay anonymous can nonetheless help by calling Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas at 833-TIPS.

Police Chief Patrick Melvin echoed the need for the community to close ranks and work with law enforcement. But the chief took things one step further from his end: He pulled together myriad law enforcement figures to make a full-bore effort to combat local crime.

A Violent Crimes Task Force has been formed — it draws upon the skills and leadership of the police department, FBI, U.S. Attorney, Drug Enforcement Agency and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“We want to stop the violence and the best way is to come together,” Patrick said in a news story published Sunday.

That means everyone: all relevant law enforcement agencies, witnesses and the responsible public. It means you.