I am appalled at the nature of crime in the city of Little Rock. An Oklahoma native, I moved here in December of 2009 while my wife works towards her PhD at UAMS. Her family is from the area, so I have heard about the nature of crime, the lack of police response and the apathy of the general populace. It seems to me that most citizens of Little Rock continue expanding further and further west, down Highway 10 and Chenal, to escape the "dangers" of the urban area, all the while allowing it to be someone else's problem.
Well, that is just what I see when I read "In the Crosshairs" in the Aug. 5 issue of the Arkansas Times. Not only has one family moved to a neighborhood known for its crime and misuse, but they have done their best to clean up the property and revitalize some of the less desirable areas of Little Rock. After having his home, his pets and his property vandalized by tenants of Parris Towers, a low-income apartment building catering to the poor and invalid, he attempted to talk to the manager of the establishment, which caused a chain-reaction of even more negativity towards him and his home. David Jones, I am on your side, sir.
The Arkansas Times attempted to contact the Little Rock Housing Authority, which operates the building, and Parris Towers. Neither call was returned. Police say there is nothing they can do due to the apartment hierarchy and already excessive call load.
How can the Chamber of Commerce or any other organization devoted to bringing in new tax-paying citizens hope to succeed when this is the kind of thing I have to read about on a continuous basis and see nothing done? Little Rock, for a capital city of a state, is not exactly big, and for that growth to begin, possible migrants need to feel safe, secure, and welcome. None of which this story denotes to me.
This is not the first time I have heard of unnecessary violence that should be easily preventable. I know of a handicapped woman living [in a nonprofit's housing project near downtown] who has been raped repeatedly by people not living in the facility. This facility is supposed to be accessible only if you have a tenant card that allows access, although I have repeatedly entered the building by multiple entrances that were not closed, locked, or key carded.
I have called the police when tenants at my apartment complex were outside smoking marijuana, playing the music so loud you could hear it in the street, and screaming and yelling all night while I have to get up the next morning. No police ever were sent to my location.
I moved here after receiving my degree in journalism, and I am neither apathetic nor ignorant towards the atrocities occurring in my new home. If the Little Rock government doesn't get their act together soon, I can guarantee being a voice of protest towards those looking to move here, be they individuals, families, or businesses. Who wants to live in a place where you never feel protected and where the law constantly replies to complaints with "our workload is too big"?