October 17, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Finding a Civil Solution

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To the Editor:

Re: “Ithaca Neighborhood Where Police Officer Was Shot Is ‘Besieged’ by Drugs, Crime, Residents Say,” News, Oct. 16

Thank you for the well-told, but tragic story of West Village Apartment residents. I did not even know the place existed and Stein’s story did an outstanding job conveying the desperation felt by people who live there. The residents, too poor to move, trapped by the violence. Ex-felons, some undoubtedly trying to start a new life, trapped by the “paucity of job opportunities.” And the city trapped by its inability to commit the necessary human service and public safety resources. The mayor is correct to call for the property owners to step up, but increased private security and more thorough rental screenings are only part of the equation. I would hate to see the majority of good residents caught in a corporate-sponsored effort at privatized justice, urban renewal and publicity. A comprehensive solution needs to be broader and driven by civil society. Problems should not simply be pushed out of the West Village Apartments and shuffled to another part of the city or county.

George Homsy, grad