Little Rock e-mails and blogs are humming with escalating reports of violence in the River Market entertainment district. The latest e-mail going around claims four violent episodes, including carjackings and a rape, in a recent time period.
Here's what I know. A young man was carjacked from a parking spot beneath the I-30 overpass one night last week, robbed, dumped on a rural road and shot. He survived. The police have some promising leads on the robbers, who used the victim's cell phone to call friends.
I talked Monday to the LRPD's spokesman Terry Hastings about the rumors of a spate of River Market crime. He said he didn't think they were correct. He said he remembered one other robbery some weeks back in which an arrest had been made. I've gone back to him today with a request for a more specific search of crime reports in the neighborhood. Either the rumors are true, and more vigorous police patrols are necessary, or they are not and need to be tamped down. The single robbery last week is scary enough -- thugs lurking in shadows to pounce on someone returning to his car.
UPDATE: Still no call-back from Hastings, but the crime reporting has gone crazily viral on the web and the city BETTER come up with a response soon. Not that the facts will deter the e-mailers once something like this gets started. One version of the e-mail has three killings in the last month. One has 50 rapes. One has a "brutal rape/murder" being covered up by city and press so as not to harm business in the neighborhood. Yes, and they all were perpetrated by a one-armed man who left a hook on the car door of a young couple that barely got away.