Recent murders show need to stay alert, ever vigilant

Editorial Board • Mar 1, 2017 at 2:34 PM

Three murders within two months in and around the Lynn Garden area have that Kingsport neighborhood rattled.

Police quickly apprehended suspects in all three incidents, but there are measures that concerned residents can take to help protect themselves and their neighbors.

The murder spree began Jan. 21 when gunfire erupted at Bloomingdale Terrace Apartments. A short chase ensued with an alleged shooter killing a man whose car crashed on Jackson Street several blocks before Lynn Garden Drive. Kingsport police had a suspect in custody within two days.

Two weeks later, a homicide victim was found on Mull Street off Lynn Garden Drive and a suspect quickly identified. A week later that suspect was in custody and charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

Then, just blocks from that slaying, an 18-year-old allegedly gunned down one man and critically wounded another over drugs. It took police but two days to capture that suspect.

Kingsport isn’t accustomed to this level of fatal violence, especially in just one section of the city. Kudos to the Kingsport Police Department for its outstanding work in making arrests in short order in all three cases.

But while these suspects were at large, we know folks in that area who had weapons at the ready. That’s not the way anyone wants to go about their life. You need to be ready and able to protect your home and loved ones. If for you personally that means having a weapon, make sure you are properly trained in its use and safe storage.

What’s the best weapon for that purpose? How secure is your home? What can you do to improve your home safety? Call the KPD for some help.

Among KPD’s outreach programs is the citizens police academy which has graduated more than 500 residents who learned how the department operates and developed a heightened awareness of public safety. The department’s public information officer, Tom Patton, is the official liaison to the public, and we know him to be an exceptional officer. You can reach him at (423) 229-9433.

Part of the problem with neighborhood crime today is that communities are not as close-knit as they used to be. One of the best ways to improve your family’s safety is to know your neighbors. Know whether they work, and when they won’t be home so you can be aware of any suspicious activity. Know their needs, and if you live near elderly folks, check in on them regularly.

Keep your property up. Well-maintained neighborhoods deter crime. Be cautious when you go out of town; ensure your mail and newspaper are being picked up and that neighbors are aware your house is empty. Close your windows and blinds at night, keep a porch light on, and check with Officer Patton on what it takes to start a neighborhood watch program.

Mainly, look for anything, or anyone, out of the ordinary. If you see lots of vehicles coming and going to a particular location over an extended period, that alone should raise suspicion. Report it.

Be safe, and do your part to keep your neighbors safe as well.


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