The power to change the crime situation lies in our own hands

BELLOWS FALLS — It was with great interest that I read this piece by independent bookseller Nancy Braus.

While crime is, like so many other issues, a national one, it is more effectively dealt with on a local level. Our future as a state is not dependent on who did and does occupy the White House, it is dependent on what we initially do city by city, town by town. Our state representatives and senators come from our cities and towns with a mandate to make our collective voice heard in Montpelier.

I am sorry to hear of the break-ins over a single year's time, just as I am distressed to hear of recent murders and attempted murders and assaults in some of our larger communities. As Nancy Braus has brought up possible causes and effects, allow me to add a somewhat different perspective.

It starts in the home - anyone's home.

Some 80% of men incarcerated grew up without a father. Without a responsible role model, our boys drift without direction. We have got to bring the father back into the home and start to mend our broken families. When we once again place value on the role of fatherhood, strategies to effect this repair will surface.

Beyond the family is the community. The question is: Why has Brattleboro not hired more police? Why is it so difficult to recruit more officers? Ask the officers. Ask the Selectboard.

I sympathize with the frustration of “catch and release,” especially with violent criminals. As the suspect is back on the street awaiting trial, he or she is sure to keep any potential “snitches” from talking with the police. Street justice fills a vacuum left when the courts and district attorneys don't effectively intervene.

Granted, this is an extreme example. But when there are no immediate consequences, the person who stole or attacked will most likely do so again. Why don't the local district attorneys and judges act more effectively? Ask them.

My point is this: The power to change the crime situation lies in our own hands. We live in the same communities as do our Selectboard members, our police, our judges, our state representatives and senators.

Washington, D.C. is not the answer.

We are. Each one of us.

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