Newington to host forum on community safety

My hometown of Newington, Connecticut has seen a number of high-profile tragedies and violent incidents recently, from the murder of Officer Peter Lavery on New Year’s Eve 2004 to the recent disruption for a Columbine-style plot at the high school. Now, the Town Council will host an “open meeting on community safety” tomorrow at 7:00 PM “to address everything from recent incidents at the high school to general safety in local neighborhoods,” according to Friday’s Town Crier:

Suburban communities across America have seen a significant shift in population, crime and general community makeup over the past few years and things have been no different in the south Hartford area.

For Newington, a town that had previously held the reputation of being a quiet community before a span of several incidents over the past few years put a spotlight on it, these changes have presented some difficult but resolvable challenges and town officials are encouraging everyone to become involved in the solution. …

Crime statistics have not spiked in town, and, in fact, the police department has been able to solve or prevent almost every major case, but the magnitude of some cases have drawn attention to the small community and have concerned some residents. …

With many of the incidents in recent months involving youthful offenders, one area where town officials have noticed a problem is community involvement. Whether by relatives, neighbors or even friends, [Mayor Rodney] Mortensen said it will take a concentrated effort from everyone to ensure the town will remain safe and prosperous.

“We need residents to participate in our efforts,” Mortensen said. “There is the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and that is no less true today. Our community needs to realize this goes beyond the schools and we need parents and neighbors to take greater participation in the process.”

One Response to “Newington to host forum on community safety”

  1. Joe Loy says:

    Here is The Courant’s report on the meeting. Excerpts (tendentious emphases added):

    For nearly two hours, at least 30 people spoke out during the forum and picked at different issues – bullying at the middle schools, the need to enforce zero-tolerance policies, parents who act as friends with their children and helping students who are depressed…

    A second security officer at the high school is being hired, school officials said. Metal detectors have long been debated but will be considered again, along with a possible dress code. The school district has installed a system that makes automatic phone calls to parents in the event of an emergency, and will add 12 cameras to the 30 in place at the high school.

    Acknowledging that if I had Attended the forum, as I Should have, I’d Know the answers already, here are my naïve Questions:

    1. How does a Dress Code deter Crime & Violence? / Does it have to do with making Concealment of Weaponry more difficult? (As a Backup to the Metal Detectors now under reConsideration?) / I know that school Uniforms [which, granted, are the most Extreme Edition of a dresscode] are often propounded as a Discouragement to Sartorial Competition & its attendant Overspending on clothes & So forth; but that seems a Different issue to Pick On. / But if a carefully-crafted Dresscode could actually help to answer Gollum’s iconic question, “What has it got in its Pocketses?”, then maybe I could See it. / BUT if Not ~ if it’s essentially the impulse to Suppress those youthful Fashions which Old folks associate with Bad Behavior, like the cries to Ban Black Trenchcoats after Columbine ~ then I say, you’ll never cure the Pathology by prohibiting its current Symbolisms-of-Choice: they will simply Change them.

    2. With Regard to the Picked-on Issue of “parents who act as friends with their children” ~ I wonder whether this was raised as a Complaint, or as an Accolade. / IOW, do [did] we Enable our little Punk[s] onward to their future Feloniousnesses via our excessively Palsy-walsy fuzzyminded egalitarianism, all heedless of the requisite magisterial augustitude of Parenthood? / OR, perhaps did we thus Impart to them some degree of appeciation for the equal Human-ness of all humanity? [Or, put in more Practical terms: in fact were the Parents of all the recent errant Punks of Newington, just their Pals? OR, possibly were at least Some of them supposedly their authoritarian lords & masters?]