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Editorial: Downtown solutions

Thursday, September 13, 2007

For several months now there has been an ongoing dialogue involving downtown businesses, city and police officials and representatives of Old Town Cape, an organization devoted to the vitality of the Cape Girardeau's most historic area. The discussions have dealt with what some merchants see as a need for more of a police presence when downtown bars and clubs are the busiest, usually from about 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

Not that there's any kind of crime wave downtown. Police statistics show that downtown is one of the safest areas of the city. But by having more officers in the area during peak hours, there is less likelihood that problems will develop. Most everyone agrees that this ounce of prevention would be worth a pound of cure.

One critical issue is how to pay for the extra police patrols. The city has indicated it would pay half the estimated $20,000 to $30,000 annual expense. Business owners have talked about how to raise the rest.

The important thing is that a potential problem is being dealt with before the situation gets out of hand. The ongoing discussions are a good way to examine the situation and come up with ideas for resolving it.

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It is worth it but the city won't pay?

-- Posted by Tom_Grey on Thu, Sep 13, 2007, at 7:32 AM

The city only wants to pay half for increased patrol! How much does a downtown merchant contribute to the sales tax revenue for the city? How much of that is the special Fire and Police sales tax? Downtown Merchants seem to be being asked to pay for police protection twice.

A safe clean environment for merchants helps make those cash registers ring. The whole city enjoys that sales tax money.

-- Posted by John Baker on Sat, Sep 15, 2007, at 10:07 AM

Increased police patrols would not be a bad idea, however, we need to concentrate on finding and prosecting people who already commit violent crimes. I had 2 friends who were mugged downtown a couple of years ago and no one was ever prosecuted. It was on a Wednesday night at around 9:30 pm. Crime happens at all times. This is just one instance of many that I could pass along where a violent crime occured and no one was ever caught. Please spend our resources on catching the offenders out there who have already victimized people, not just on more patrols.

-- Posted by eileen113 on Sun, Sep 16, 2007, at 6:03 PM

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