I did, however, get wind of a Channel 3 television report about the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway with the title of “a hot spot for crime.” The report stemmed from political signs that had been vandalized and car break-ins that were “... near the Greenway.” I was pretty offended at the reference and title of the report. Channel 3 also sent a reporter a few weeks ago about rats on the Greenway.
What I thought was interesting about both reports was the reporters sought really hard to find someone on the Greenway to contribute a bad reference. In the rat story, of the three or four they interviewed, the reactions were along the lines of “... not a big deal.” In fact, a couple of them made complimentary references about the linear park they were enjoying, while being interviewed about a negative aspect that would potentially run them off.
The same thing happened in the second report. Ironically, if there was such a problem with crime on the Greenway the day before, there was no shortage of people willing to enjoy it! Those interviewed never mentioned that they felt threatened by being on the Greenway; just disgust at the crimes committed in its parking areas.
When I returned I read the reports about the crimes, and again remembered Channel 3’s characterization of our Greenway. The Greenway is a public venue — four miles long with at least 10 different areas where people can park and enjoy it. As with any public space, the Greenway is going to be subject to crime as much as anywhere else. But, car break-ins and vandalism (spray paint in this case) of political signs not actually on the Greenway does not constitute a “hot spot for crime.”
In an effort at full disclosure, there have been incidents of crime along the Greenway, but most have been contained to destructive vandalism of restroom fixtures, lights and benches. Unfortunately, as cowardly and disgusting as it is, that’s the norm for most cities. I have been on many greenways over the last several years and almost every one deals with vandalism, particularly graffiti.
Many have simply given up on trying to combat it and left the random sprayings on water fountains, benches and walls. I am grateful for our Parks and Recreation and Public Works department crews that are diligent to clean or repair, a lot times on the same day, so no one ever knows it even happened.
I guess I am pretty protective of our Greenway. I realize the value it is to our community, and to me personally. In addition, I am grateful for its popularity, as that reduces the crime element somewhat.
If everyone who enjoys the Greenway will take it upon themselves to adopt a “neighborhood watch” mentality, we can together reduce the few crimes that are occurring.
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