The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Opinion

March 16, 2014

OUR VIEW: Local crimes cry for residents to tell police what they know

- — They say that “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, people need to realize that it takes a village to stop criminals as well.

We say this in light of two shootings in the Shenango Valley that follow the same theme of other crimes in the past. Police are finding a hard time getting people to come forward and tell what they know.

While people like to blame the authorities for not stopping crime, they need witnesses or even victims to tell the truth about what they know.

Two recent incidents emphasize that point.

On March 5, shots rang out on Farrell Terrace in Farrell for a fourth time in three weeks. In fact, police found the vehicle supposedly used during the shooting and five men inside fled.

Two were caught and three others ran into a nearby house on Roemer Boulevard. Police supposedly surrounded the house and waited for the Critical Incident Response Team to arrive. But by the time the lawmen entered the house, the suspects were gone.

This of course gives wonder to the police using the term “surrounded the house” since somehow the trio disappeared.

Then last week there was a shooting in the Mesabi Street area of Sharon. Two people were wounded and taken to hospitals.

But days later, there were still no arrests.

Why?

Because police are getting stonewalled by local residents who may be able to help identify the assailants. And the same was true in the Farrell incident, according to Southwest Mercer County Regional police.

Last week, Farrell Mayor Olive McKeithan held a block watch seminar at the Farrell City Building where people were instructed by experts on how to protect their neighborhoods.

We don’t need an expert to tell us that one of the best ways to protect a neighborhood is to cooperate with police when something happens and don’t be afraid to identify criminals.

It is a huge problem in the African-American community that there is a reluctance to help the police. At times there may be a large group that witnesses a crime, but the common response to police is “I didn’t see anything” or “I don’t know who was shooting.”

Farrell has the highest percentage of blacks of all municipalities in Mercer County. And one of the common things we hear is: “The Herald never publishes anything good about Farrell.” Not true.

But we would like to be able to write something really good such as: “Area residents are coming forward to help stop crime in their neighborhoods.”

The highest incidence of crime in this country is black-on-black crime. But it will never be ended until the black community decides to help stop it.

This would be a great time to start. Residents of Sharon and Farrell need to come forward and help police arrest and charge people involved in the two recent shootings.

And the saddest thing is – until some members of the black community decide to do that, it will continue to play a key part in fostering other crimes by refusing to cooperate with police in putting away thugs regardless of their race.

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