Crime is still a major problem in Helena-West Helena because the people make it too comfortable for the wrongdoers to live here says the chairman of the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce's Public Safety Committee.

Larry Evans suggests that a Nuisance Abatement Ordinance could be just the right tool to “weed” out some of the problems. He noted that the numbered streets on the west side of town between Plaza and Anderson streets have been the setting for a lot of criminal activity.

Crime is still a major problem in Helena-West Helena because the people make it too comfortable for the wrongdoers to live here says the chairman of the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce's Public Safety Committee.

Larry Evans suggests that a Nuisance Abatement Ordinance could be just the right tool to “weed” out some of the problems. He noted that the numbered streets on the west side of town between Plaza and Anderson streets have been the setting for a lot of criminal activity.

Evans added that those streets are the addresses of record of many of the people appearing regularly on the District and Circuit court dockets.

“These areas can't improve until the quality of the people living in those areas improve,” commented Evans in an open letter to The Helena World. “A dozen or so families have made it impossible for decent people to live on the numbered streets from Plaza to Anderson and between Sebastian and Ninth streets.”

According to Evans most of the residents causing problems are renters and thus he cited were subject to control. He stressed that the city needs to make it difficult for property owners to continue to fail to properly manage their properties.

“Property code enforcement officers ticketing landlords for violations would get their attention and result in them paying attention to who occupied their property,” stressed Evans.

Evans reported that Section 8 vouchers can be cancelled as the result of lease agreement violations. Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers pay the balance of rent payment that exceeds 30 percent of the renters monthly income. He went on to say that failing to be a law-abiding citizen is sufficient grounds for canceling a Section 8 voucher.

As a concerned citizen, Evans pointed out that code enforcement, ticketing violators, canceling vouchers are some effective crime fight tools that are never used by the city.

“While it is true that our community is faced with many challenges,” said Evans, “it is not true that our failure to address challenges is due a lack of resources. Our failure is due to our lack of vision and will.”

Evans asks all concerned citizens and elected officials to speak up, express their vision and exercise their will to make Helena-West Helena a better place to live.

“We either demand what we want or we get what we deserve,” concluded Evans.