20 March, 2011

Why St. Albans' Crime Problem Is A Leadership Opportunity For Generation X and Generation Y

There aren't enough humane officers or police officers in St. Albans to stamp out all of the drug activity and cruelty to animals unless neighbors once again start acting like neighbors and citizens begin exhibiting good citizenship.

A few days ago, a warrant was issued for the arrest of a Georges Drive woman who had starved a rabbit and some dogs. It turns out, there were people in that neighborhood who knew this abuse was occurring but did not notify the police or the humane association.

More humane officers or police officers on the street would not have saved those animals.

More police officers in uniform or undercover cannot purge the drug problem from St. Albans unless citizens and neighbors take some responsibility for what they allow to go unreported in their neighborhoods.

Do you see a tethered dog baking in the sun or shivering in the cold without water, food or shelter? Kanawha County now has a law against that. If you aren't sure who else to call, call the police. Call the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association. Call the Kanawha County Sheriff. If you don't know who to call, call your neighbor and see if they know who to call. Call somebody.

Do you see yellow smoke billowing from a house in your neighborhood? Smell funny smells? Do you see what seems to be odd traffic patterns at a house in your neighborhood? It may be nothing but call the police anyway.

There isn't enough tax money to protect our neighborhoods from abuse to animals or the manufacture of methamphetamine until the residents of St. Albans engage.

St. Albans doesn't need more police. St. Albans needs more good citizenship, more neighbors looking out for neighbors, more eyes and ears paying attention to what's going on in their neighborhoods and reporting what they see and hear.

Mayor Richard Callaway cannot clean up St. Albans. City Councilman, Desper Lemon, cannot rid Ordnance Park of meth labs no matter how much he talks to reporters or talks on his HAM radio about it. New Police Chief, Brent Coates, cannot hire enough new cops to run the meth labs out of town unless the citizens of St. Albans start paying attention to what's happening in their neighborhoods and reporting what they see to police.

And the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association can't possibly know about cases of cruelty to animals unless you report it.

A reader told me it does no good to report drug activity or abuse to animals because the police and the humane officers won't do anything. if the police or the humane association fail to do their jobs, call the Charleston Gazette, the Charleston Daily Mail, WOWK, WCHS TV, WSAZ and any other news source you can think of. Embarrass somebody. Make the police chief, the mayor, and the humane association explain to a TV viewing audience why they won't do their jobs.

Are Desper Lemon and Mayor Callaway the only people in St. Albans who know how to call the news media? Call Ashley Craig at the Daily Mail or Aran Jenkins at the Charleston Gazette or Anna Baxter at WSAZ.

If you don't think St. Albans' titular leaders are leading, then step up and be a leader. You don't have to  hold elected office to be a leader. Maybe you think your city council member should be walking his ward, knocking on doors and asking citizens to act like citizens. If he won't go, you go. Don't want to go alone? Call me, I'll go with you. Don't want to be associated with me? Fine. Call a neighbor and say "Let's go knock on some doors".

For the same reason shoplifting can be reduced when clerks actually pay attention to patrons, the mere act of going door to door will discourage a great deal of illegal activities of all kinds. When the bad guys see their neighbors talking to each other and knocking on doors and paying attention, they'll look for a new place to set up shop.

Don't wait for Mayor Callaway to ask you to serve on a committee. You don't need his permission or his blessing to be a leader and if he hasn't asked for your help by now he's not going to.

If you are a member of Generation X or Generation Y and you think your parent's generation and your grandparents' generation are not leading, then you stand up and lead. Don't ask their permission and don't wait for them to put you on a committee.

As my regular readers know, all outcomes are the result of systems. Systems produce what they are designed to produce. Every time. If your city government or your city "partnership" don't produce anything then it's because they are designed not to produce anything and because the people who designed and maintain the system don't want it to produce anything.

Design a new system, one that is intended to produce something.

Let me get biblical: Don't try to put new wine into old wineskins. (Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 2, Luke chapter 5). In other words, don't try to reform the old wineskins. They can't hold the new wine. You have to put new wine into new wineskins. Make new wineskins.

Right now, St. Albans gives criminals exactly what they need to survive and thrive: a citizenry that doesn't want to get involved.

St. Albans doesn't have a crime problem as much as it has an apathy problem and apathy is fertile soil for crime.

Higginbotham At Large is tired of explaining to readers that this blog publishes no anonymous or pseudonymous content including reader comments. Send all comments, questions and hate mail to JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com or, discuss this and other St. Albans topics at LinkedSt.AlbansLinkedin. This post has been submitted for discussion at LinkedSt.Albans on Linkedin.

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