Pubdate: Fri, 12 Apr 2002
Source: Albany Herald, The (GA)
Author: Ben Holcombe, Staff Writer


More Than 15 Northeast Dawson Residents Rail Against Widespread Crime And A 
Lack Of Police Presence

DAWSON -- Residents of one Dawson neighborhood have had enough.

Thursday night, more than 15 people made sure the city council knew just 
how fed up they are with widespread crime where they live.

For more than an hour, residents complained about drug use and dealing, 
wayward gunfire, even public urination and defecation in the streets and in 
their back yards.

But drug activity, they said, is the most predominant illegal activity, and 
they think police could do more to stop it.

"People set up shop on the first of the month," said resident Michael 
Greer. "It's the same people in the same clothes sitting in the same place 
selling the same dope."

Gloria Green, another northeast Dawson resident, said it's so bad that "I 
can sit on my porch and get a free high."

Lucious Holloway, a Terrell County commissioner who lives in northeast 
Dawson, was troubled recently by the sound of five gunshots and frustrated 
that police won't "haul people in" for questioning because of civil liberty 

"Unless I see people shoot, ain't nothing I can do about it," Holloway said.

As the livid complaints continued, so did a chorus of "Um-hmms" and "Amens."

When Mayor Pro Tem Calvin Stephens suggested residents appear before the 
Public Safety Committee, the complainants threatened to stay until midnight.

Instead, an impromptu public forum ensued with Police Chief Lee Webb.

Webb said that during the past two weeks, police have made 60 arrests for 
everything from drug offenses to noise ordinance violations as part of 
their stepped-up enforcement efforts.

And the recently formed Dawson Anti-narcotics Response Team (D.A.R.T.), is 
getting back to "good, old-fashioned community policing," especially in the 
northeast sections of the city, Webb said.

Residents also said they worry that if they call to report crime, police 
officers will release their names to suspects, who might retaliate against 

City Manager Barney Parnacott said the city is setting up an anonymous 
crime tip hot line that would allow people to report suspicious activity 
without giving their names.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Janet Andrews-Mitchell, who put the issue on the 
council's agenda, said she wants the matter given top priority.

"We can't fix it in one day," she cautioned. "It didn't get that way in one 

Ben Holcombe can be reached at (229) 434-8738.
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