Conway lives matter

Published 8:34 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

There are tens of thousands of small towns like Conway that dot the landscape of rural America.

What you’ll discover in the majority of those quaint little municipalities is a very simple way of life enjoyed by God-fearing, law abiding people. They smile and wave when greeting you on the street; they offer firm handshakes; and they are the first to rally to the aid of their neighbors when life throws a curveball.

Those of us old enough – or by the younger generation through TV reruns – remember the Andy Griffin Show. Mayberry was a place where issues were settled by way of Sheriff Taylor’s common sense approach to life. While Mayberry was a myth, a utopia that didn’t really exist, the lessons of life shared by Andy were real and worth applying in today’s society.

No, we can’t go back to Mayberry just as Conway cannot return to the days where children roamed the neighborhood at night to visit friends or chase fireflies; where windows were left open to allow the entrance of a cool, gentle breeze; and where doors were left unlocked because of the trust built between the town’s populace.

Conway citizens have been horrified as of late, victimized by a rash of violent crimes, to include the murder of one young man, and shots being fired into an occupied residence and vehicle. One person was injured in the latter incident.

There are documented reports of gunfire on a regular basis at the Conway Village Apartments. Vandalism is another ongoing issue at the same housing complex, according to its manager. And there are other reports of criminal activity, to include drug trafficking, breaking-and-entering/larceny, and fist fights, in other parts of town.

But instead of hiding out in their homes and peering out the window at the danger, some Conway citizens are taking a stand….and they have the full attention and cooperation of the Conway Mayor and Town Commissioners.

Conway citizens turned out in mass at the most recent meeting of the Town Commissioners. In short, they’re fed up with all the crime and violence and yearn to see the town as the way it once was….safe and secure.

Their pleas for help have fallen on friendly ears. Town officials have already begun clearing overgrown vegetation from several lots where there have been complaints of unsavory people hiding out. Plans are on the drawing board to work with other landowners to clear lots, and trim trees…making the area in and around the apartment complex more visible (an unwelcomed element by those favoring criminal activity).

Two other crime-busting measures approved by the Conway Commissioners is to add streetlights to the area near the apartments, and installing security cameras in different areas of the town (those pesky crooks hate to be seen).

But the biggest deterrent to crime in Conway is police protection. Right now, the town employs one, full-time officer, and it’s impossible for him to safeguard the entire town. That will soon change as the Commissioners have approved the hiring of a second, full-time officer. That addition, plus the use of part-time officers, should offer an added layer of security felt by the town’s residents.

And, for good measure, the town’s leaders will enact a 12 midnight until 5 a.m. curfew for those ages 18-and-under. There are fines as high as $500 for breaking curfew…so the town put some “teeth” into that ordinance.

We commend the town’s elected leadership for approving these measures, and the citizens who bravely stepped forward to voice their concerns….all done in an effort of pride to see Conway remain as a safe place to live, work and raise a family.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald