Sunday, May 3, 2015

[Update] Crime Walk today in Lake Worth (and controlling the message)

The Lake Worth Herald has this on the front page this week, above the fold:
     The public is invited to attend a Crime Walk uniting Lake Worth Neighborhoods against crime scheduled for Sunday May 3. Participants will gather in the City Hall parking lot at 4:30 pm. and the walk will begin at 5 pm. City Hall is located at Dixie Highway between Lake Ave. and Lucerne Ave. 
     Tammy Panza, the spark plug of the event , said residents will team up with Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies to raise awareness of crime in Lake Worth. The walk will take place on local streets and in alleys in neighborhoods surrounding the area. 
     Panza says, “during the walk, we will discuss our concerns and document the event with pictures and notes. With PBSO and our attentive neighbors Making the Call,” we hope to make a difference.” 
     There will be another Crime Walk on May 17, same time. Stay tuned for more details.
This is a great effort for the City, the public, and PBSO and everyone knows good-hearted, caring people are organizing this event.

But I am very concerned and here's why. A few days ago Bill DiPaolo at The Palm Beach Post did a story about the Guatemalan community in Jupiter and their concerns about recent events in their community. They had their meeting in a community resource center and maybe we'll hear more about what happened and the result from that meeting in the near future.

When you have a community meeting in a controlled environment you can control the message, and that's important. The stated purpose for the crime walk this Sunday is to unite neighborhoods, raise awareness, and getting the community to make "the call". All laudable and responsible goals.

But all it takes is one person to monkeywrench the entire message. Let's say you have a hundred people and one person carrying the sign below, what picture do you think is going to make it in The Palm Beach Post and the CBS12/WPEC News?
From an earlier protest in Lake Worth.
I support the message but I see too many opportunities for certain people, and everyone knows who I'm talking about, to try and steal the message. I hope I'm wrong. 

My point is this: keep your eyes out, note any unfamiliar faces, make sure everyone is clear what the stated goals are, and keep your message "YOUR MESSAGE". You own it, you created it. Some politically opportunistic people out there will steal it if they have the chance. They're pros; they've been doing this stuff for a long time. 

If everything goes well this week then great and that will bode well for many more crime walks in other parts of the City. If it doesn't go as planned there are many indoor venues that could also be utilized in the future. Either way, indoors or outdoors, it's a great idea and a big "Thank You" to the organizers.