The Sikeston Housing Authority and the Sikeston Department of Public Safety will soon announce a major initiative and cooperative effort to address crime in our community. Though some of the details of the program have been discussed, this will mark a major level of cooperation that, I think, speaks well for our community.
Now let me say first that I am proud to serve as a member of the Housing Authority Board. So rest assured, I have some prejudice concerning this program. But regardless, this new program will have Public Safety officers assigned full time to help the residents of public housing here by assigning them to patrol and get to meet those residents. No one should be more pleased with this new program than the residents of public housing.
Part of the crime problem here - and elsewhere - does not directly involve public housing residents. But it may well involve those who visit or temporarily stay with those residents. These non-residents often have a lower regard for the laws because, quite simply, they are not residents of this community. They have no stake in the future of this community. Sometimes, they create problems.
Granted, by no means is crime a problem isolated to public housing. That is simply not the case. And more importantly, residents of public housing should have the same guarantees of safety that all residents have. This new initiative will help to assure that promise of safety.
With Public Safety personnel dedicated solely to addressing the needs and concerns of public housing residents, we expect changes. We expect public housing residents to help monitor their neighborhood. Now, with Public Safety personnel assigned just for that purpose, we fully expect substantial change over time. That is good for the entire community.
Past Housing Authority leadership has been prudent and accumulated a substantial financial reserve. What better way to utilize those funds than to help assure the safety of the public housing residents and the community at-
Public Safety and the school system have established a cooperative program to put uniformed officers on our school property. It gives everyone an opportunity to feel safer and to have someone nearby to share concerns or suggestions. That program has worked well. We expect the same level of success with this new program.
All of the details have yet to be announced. But rest assured, there will soon be an announcement on this new cooperative effort that should be greeted with open arms by everyone within our community. We hope it will serve as an example for others to follow and we hope this level of cooperation and shared interest will spark others to explore how they can help our community in this or other ways.