By Ethan Van Sice
With the recent surge of criminal activity we’ve been having, I couldn’t help but notice another familiar breeze coming through our office doors. Looking back over the archives, we’ve been reporting major crimes with astounding frequency, more-so than any other time of the year, during the months of September and October.
September 2014 produced headlines describing a Wilcox County manhunt that ended behind the graves of 5 innocent children. Not long after that, 2 teenagers were arrested after burglarizing several homes in search of weapons.
This week back in 2015, Abe Cook was hospitalized when a thug cracked him over the head with a blunt object. Soon after, Jackson’s Chicken was burglarized, and a car was stolen from Ellis Island.
Things didn’t get any better in 2016. A chain of events kicked off after Henry’s Red & White got broken into. After that, we saw 3 individuals arrested for Murder, a Pine Hill woman arrested for shooting her boyfriend, and yet another business break-in at Headz outdoors. And this time last year, we saw a shooting at McWilliams Mini-Mart, a double-homicide in Pine Hill, and several guns stolen from an Ellis Island home, and several kids with guns at school.
Just as history may have predicted, these past few weeks in September have already produced a sexual assault, a truck stolen from a teenager, and several firearms taken from vehicles. One may assume these are simply the types of stories we should be used to dealing with at a newspaper, but anyone familiar with this publication and our surrounding area will tell you that these things just do not happen all that often.
Most of the stories I’ve cited already stand out fresh in memory to the locals, because each time people that we know are directly affected by them. Our neighbors and friends become victims overnight due to the senseless acts carried out by thugs, people like we see on the nightly news in bigger, more criminally infamous cities. When a community is struck so hard, we start to fear our very own neighbors.
When crimes go unsolved, we start to question the capabilities of our judicial system. And when criminals are allowed back onto the streets, we start to doubt if any of this is going to get any better. The victims in last week’s break-in’s have gone on record to express their satisfaction with how the Camden PD has conducted investigations. Chief Matthews and the squad didn’t waste any time locating and charging the suspect. But at this point, it’s in the judge’s hands. Bonds should not be lowered to meet the financial circumstance of a criminal’s mother or gang buddies. Thats why exorbitant bails are set in place, to separate those heinous murders from the petty misdemeanors.