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“People have to get off their keyboards & be visible & active” – Port Arthur reacts to violent crime

This week has been a tough one crime-wise, with a robbery-turned-homicide, two home invasions and two drive-by shootings, including one where a small child was injured.

The violence is not lost on local leaders Jody Holton of the Port Arthur Neighborhood Action Council, District 4 councilmember Harold Doucet and Port Arthur Police Det. Mike Hebert. All three had similar views.

“I don’t feel Port Arthur’s crime problem is any worse than any other city,” Holton said. “Summer time traditionally brings higher crime rates. With a unity of law enforcement agencies that we now have in Port Arthur, we are seeing more cases solved. I believe what we are seeing in our city is a reflection of the general crime rate around the country.”

While prayers are great, Holton said, patrols tend to be better as people watch and call in suspicious incidents. But some are afraid to call police for fear of repercussions.

“In the areas with high crime, people simply will not cooperate,” Holton said. “People have to get off their keyboards and be visible and active.”

Doucet said if the city wants to get better, the residents are going have to do their part to help law enforcement.

“You can’t hire enough police, you have to have citizen involvement,” Doucet said. “And once the criminals find out they can’t commit crime here, they get run out.”

Citizens working with police is one way to help and to send the message to criminals — “we don’t want it here,” Doucet said.

“Make them accountable for their actions and let them know we are not going to tolerate this,” he said.

Doucet also agrees that some of the recent crime can be attributed to summertime trends, among other possible causes. He said crime comes in cycles where there are a lot of people unemployed, a lot without money, those who don’t want to go out and find a job, and they want to lay back and take it from somebody else.

Doucet also mentioned a possible drug abuse factor.

“We are a coastal town, and Interstate 10 is a main road. We are right here. You have unemployment, drugs, summertime,” he said.

“How do you combat stupidity?” Doucet asked. “If you deal with a person, you can rehabilitate. But stupidity? The dumb stuff? Those who go and shoot up a house?”

He said there is no better security than good neighbors. But, he added, many times nowadays it seems no one saw anything and no one heard anything.

He believes citizens need to watch out for other citizens, watch one another’s homes, and things in their neighborhood they don’t recognize.

Det. Hebert stressed the importance of having an open line of communication between residents and law enforcement.

“It is imperative to have the community’s support in all of these cases because that’s how we get a lot of our info,” he said. “I’m not talking about informants but concerned citizens who call because they want to stop the violence in the city.”