Scary Statistics: Local Roads Are Dangerous and so Is this Community

No doubt about it, we need to get tough on crime. Last Saturday our new Police Chief Harold Medlock and the Fayetteville Police Department, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Hope Mills and Spring Lake Police Departments and the local Probation & Parole units conducted a DWI checkpoint on a section of Hope Mills Road. The checkpoint was part of the Booze It and Lose It Campaign through the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. The objectives were to educate the public on the dangers of impaired driving and to reduce the number of drunk drivers on our roadways. Good idea? No. Great idea!

09-04-13-pub-notes.gifHowever, as a longtime resident of Cumberland County,it brings to light some very interesting and disturbing points. Why wasn’t the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department participating and supporting this exercise? And, why is it that so many of our Cumberland County residents have such a high disrespect and disregard for our laws, ordinances, law enforcement officers, the courts and our judicial system in general?

If this situation wasn’t so serious, it would be a laughing matter. After all, the crooks, “bad guys” and not so casual lawbreakers continue mocking our laws, our police officers, sheriff deputies, our magistrates, judges and entire judicial system. No? Want proof?

Just examine the results of just one day of this recent Booze It campaign. I repeat, just one day. This speaks volumes about how people feel about law and order and the level of respect they have for our police and local laws. These results also provide all the insights one needs as to why Fayetteville and Cumberland County have one of the highest crime rates in the state. Where’s the pride to lead the state in community assaults, rapes, burglaries, property crimes and murders? Check out this one day’s work of day arrests and citations:

Underage DWI 5 arrests

Driving with a Revoked License 32 citations

No Operators License 19 citations

Open Container (Alcohol) 3 citations

Inspection / Registration Violations 45 citations

Misdemeanor Drug Violations 4 citations

Seatbelt / Child Restraint Violations 3 citations

Wanted Persons arrested 2

113 in all. Impressed? I am, but, for the wrong reasons. Notice the low number of DWIs. That’s a positive. What’s disturbing is that they were all underage drinkers. What should really alarm everyone is that 51, or 45 percent, of the total citations were given out to people driving automobiles without valid driver licenses. That’s huge and extremely scary!

Think about it, in just one day in several hours, 51 people were caught driving on local roads without authorization or consequence. Even scarier and more detrimental to our community in every case, there is a good and legal reason why they do not have valid authorization to drive a motor vehicle. To make matters even worse, no valid driver license means they also do not have automobile insurance. Bottom line, literally, our streets are dangerous. Citizens are not safe.

The harsh reality is that this is a sad reflection of how our community and humanity in general views and respects authority and the laws of the land. Slick lawyers, weak law enforcement, lenient judges, over crowded jails all contribute to what criminals applaud as a “catch-and-release” environment that serves only to encourage the weak willed to ignore and break the law. Put another way, there is no fear or sense of consequence.

In the Fayetteville community, as in communities all across the nation, lack of punishment or consequence only encourages and incites a criminal to ignore the law. What better proof is needed than one day’s work out on Hope Mills Road? I hope our city and county leaders (and leaders to be) will consider these points before our war on crime escalates into our local war on terror.

Cumberland County and Fayetteville both have qualified and talented law enforcement agencies. They are working hard … just not together. The magistrates, judges, DA’s office and courts need to search out their A games, get serious to reestablish law and order in our community. Honestly, the perception is that they are missing in action. Until all these components of justice start to come together I am afraid all the newly hired police officers, hundreds of surveillance cameras and dozens of municipal crime advisory boards will only serve as a placebo and fuzzy feel good for taking on the real responsibility for establishing law and order and getting tough on crime.

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