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Violence Plagues Our City Streets

April 21, 1988

On March 31, tragedy befell the community of Inglewood as one of our city's finest police officers was shot and killed while pursuing armed robbers. While his murder has brought grief and sorrow to his family, friends and the community he outstandingly served, it also reminds us of the fact that many of our cities are plagued by violence.

Whether it's the brutal murder of a police officer, the killing of a law-abiding citizen or another unsolved disappearance of an innocent child, we are haunted by the question of why? Why can criminals roam the streets of our neighborhoods and terrorize law-abiding citizens? Why is it that our judicial system seems to be geared toward protecting the rights of criminals rather than making them fully accountable for their crimes? Why do gangs and drug dealers spread like a cancer throughout the body of our youth? Most important, why is it that violent criminals are allowed out of prison to repeatedly prey upon society?

Unfortunately, the answer to these questions can be found in the amazing tolerance of many people in America to merely regard this victimization as an unavoidable byproduct of life in any city. We are all angered by crime, yet we fail to turn our frustrations into actions which result in criminals receiving the full punishment that they deserve. Now it's time for a change.

It's time for all of us to join forces and demand that our elected representatives pass stronger laws. Criminals should not be allowed to hide behind the Constitution and infringe upon the right of law-abiding citizens to enjoy life without fear. This problem can't be solved by action at the local level alone. It will take a coordinated effort by our state and federal representatives to enact laws that support and protect the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must communicate to our legislators that we are fed up with the current situation, that we want tougher laws with harsher penalties and that we are prepared to hold them accountable.

I urge everyone to let your elected representatives know that you've had enough of crime and criminals and that the laws must be changed. Only by transferring our anger and rage into an intensive campaign for stronger laws, stricter enforcement and longer sentencing can we restore some semblance of peace and sanity to our society.

ANN A. WILK

Councilwoman, District 3

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