Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brandon Shinholser's Plan for ACC Security

Shinholser Announces Plan to Fight Crime
We cannot surrender to crime; we must be tough, strategic, and proactive.

Athens, June 15, 2009: As many local communities find themselves in the midst of an upcoming Mayoral election, we all begin to question the priority of the issues facing our communities. In Athens, like many cities, there are a variety of issues that need to be discussed. During my year-long run for Mayor, I have assembled an agenda geared toward bringing jobs and opportunities, working to decrease the crime rate, promoting tax transparency, encouraging open government, alleviating poverty, supporting historic preservation and environmental protection, restoring the public trust, and creating a more inspired, activist community. I hope that whoever ultimately wins the election, if not I, will incorporate these vital issues into his or her agenda.

For nearly a year now, we have watched the crime rate in Athens make a staggering increase, with violent crimes alone increasing at nearly a rate of 23 percent between 2007 and 2008. Many citizens have found themselves afraid, panicking, and seeking solutions. As a candidate in the race for Mayor of Athens, I have promised to make public safety one of the top issues on my agenda. However, we must all come together to find solutions, and we must realize that the crimes being committed are not all about the crimes themselves - but the society which the crimes happen; we must outline strategic plans to combat crime simply because there is no shortcut.

We cannot surrender to crime; we must be tough, strategic, and proactive.

If elected, I will work closely with our officers and administration in order to achieve real solutions that will decrease the thriving rate of crime in Athens. My plan to decrease the crime rate, called Plan DCAA, is a mix of community-based and problem-oriented policing.

My plan will be formally announced in September 2009 and will be multiple fold: increasing the presence of police officers, implementing concentrated analysis of specific problems, establishing a closer relationship between the citizens and police department, increasing neighborhood, business, and campus sector watch programs, educating the public on strategy, and increasing safety education to our youth are among the assets to my plan. The impact from Plan DCAA will help fight and deter crime with a zero tolerance policy, while bringing together the Athens-Clarke County Board of Education, church organizations, community, non-profit, and student groups, social-service organizations, and the entirety of the citizens. My plan also calls for an increase in assembling between the Mayor, Commission, and Athens-Clarke County Police Department; monthly meetings are simply not enough communication.

There are no easy solutions, and we must keep all of our options on the table. The next Mayor of Athens will have to bring more jobs and opportunity - without higher employment, crime will be three-times as hard to combat, and a domino effect could be inevitable within the near future. Also, without the proper funding, establishing more youth-based opportunities will be limited. This in turn decreases our chance of deterring crime by means of education.

I encourage all concerned citizens to get involved in their neighborhood by joining or starting their own neighborhood watch program. Sit down and have a talk with your family or roommates, and establish a precautionary plan in case of an emergency, as well as a proactive plan to deter crime from your home. Simple things such as replacing front and back porch bulbs with eco-friendly lights will allow you to brighten your entire yard at a reduced cost, and will most likely portray the image of "we're home and we're awake," to the local robber. Also, reporting any kind of strange behavior that takes place in your presence is also advisable. As I have said many times before, City Hall cannot solve all of our problems, and neither can the police; but with the help of you, the public, we can all work together and move this city forward.