Lamar rallies its citizens to fight crime
By Samantha Lyles
With an attempted kidnapping, attempted murder and a murder taking place within the past month in Lamar, it’s unsurprising that discussions at the Oct. 12 Lamar Town Council meeting largely revolved around crime prevention. Chief Carl Scott of the Lamar Police Department told council members and guests that he is working with other law enforcement agencies to increase police presence to reduce crime. “We want to deter crime as much as possible,” said Scott, adding that efforts are already underway to visit with businesses and senior citizens and make officers more visible in the community. “This is something that will be ongoing, all the time.” Scott said that residents who plan to be out of town can inform Lamar police and officers will perform extra property checks on their homes and businesses while they are away. Officers will also regularly check derelict properties to discourage criminal activity and vagrancy. Although the department has faced criticism for being understaffed, Scott said he is still conducting interviews and attempting to find certified officers to serve on Lamar’s police force. The town’s Neighborhood Watch program officially kicked off Oct. 1 at a gathering where 11 new members signed up to help. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m. in the Lamar Library. Scott added that Lamar now has an anonymous tip line where anyone can leave information related to crime in the community, without fear of being publicly identified. That number is 843-326-5554. Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson said the town has started a fund to purchase “strategically placed surveillance cameras” which will be installed around town. She said Lamar will work toward establishing parks, activities, and supportive infrastructure as “a positive outreach” for the town’s children and young people. McPherson added that the local ministerial alliance has stated they will work together “to promote Christian values” through a series of rallies and sermons, and a heightened presence in the community. Also, a John Maxwell certified trainer has volunteered to hold leadership training for Lamar’s youth and adults. The mayor also issued a statement coalescing her thoughts on recent criminal activity and the corrosive effect such events – and the community’s response to them – can have on a community. “These issues are happening throughout these United States and beyond; however, this is our backyard and these are our children and families. We must identify, arrest and convict anyone who hurts, harms or endangers the life of another human being now. Yes, some will say, Lamar has a small Police Department but citizens report crimes, law enforcement arrests and convicts. Let us not get sucked into that analogy. We are not doing all we can to wrap our arms around our young people and we fail to bring needed services and resources to help make the lives of others better. We cannot fight each other, point fingers or bury our heads in the sand. The issues are front and center for the adults to address. I implore you to look in the mirror and figure out what you can do to make our community safer, more prosperous, more peaceful, and more representative of the Sunday values we talk about,” said McPherson. To learn more about how citizens can pitch in to help in Lamar, contact Chief Carl Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-639-3900.