Once again, the future of the Police Department’s anti-gang unit is being offered as a martyr to the bad economy.
Some councilors are running around trying to get local downtown businessmen to contribute $200,000 to close the gap so the anti-gang force can continue its work in the city during the hot summer months.
The gang problem in this city is boiling.
Residents of this city steam about gang violence – its random nature and its crude indifference.
There is the general feeling of outrage shared by decent Lynn residents each time gang violence takes another life on our streets.
And to think funding the anti-gang unit is a pawn in a political game or in the game of what we can afford and what we can’t afford in the city budget is as outrageous as the gang violence itself.
The funding of the anti-gang unit shouldn’t be a function of private donations.
It should be accomplished by putting money into the budget directly and unequivocally to man the unit for maximum effect.
This city will go straight down the drain with whatever remains of Lynn’s reputation if gang violence isn’t met head on with a major unit capable of not just keeping things under control.
This city needs to make the effort to eradicate gang violence or to make it so hard for gangs to exist that they decide to try out another city.
Everyone in law enforcement in this city with an ounce of understanding knows where the gang bangers and the violent gang degenerates live.
The next step is to do something about them.
Raising money from beleaguered downtown merchants to staff the anti-gang is an insult to the police department’s mandate.
It is an insult to taxpayers.
If taxpayers can spend $4-$5 million a year to pay the increases in city paid health insurance for its employees, then certainly $500,00-$1 million can be found to eradicate gang activity in this city.
Trying to pay for the anti-gang unit with local businessmens’ contribution is an insult and a joke.
What’s worse, the joke is on us, the homeowners and taxpayers of Lynn who want worse than anything else, a safe city to live in.