I am a resident of your district and a local writer who keeps a weblog on subjects of interest to North Nashville neighborhoods.I hope that you will take some time to contact your elected officials and prompt them to work harder to mandate safer conditions on Tennessee's public lands.
I was troubled to read news of the assault and rape of one of my neighbors on state property during the early morning hours of September 18. The entire incident reportedly lasted two hours at the Bicentennial Mall amphitheater. Even more confusing to me was the news reported in the October 5 Tennessean that the State of Tennessee ends patrols of the Mall before midnight and does not begin them again for seven hours, after the sun comes up.
Some argue that the victim should not have been walking in the Capitol Hill/Bicentennial Mall area at 2:00 a.m. because it is not safe. Do you believe that any part of your district, particularly the land owned by the state itself should be assumed to be unsafe at any time of the day or the night? I would argue that it is totally unacceptable to assume that we should stay completely away from accessible state lands at any time simply out of fear.
The state should be providing an adequate police force, surveillance array and emergency kiosks to prevent these crimes from happening. And in no case should victims of crime that occur on public Tennessee property be re-victimized by claims that they should never have been there in the first place.
So, I am asking you to use your leadership and your influence to make Bicentennial Mall a safe place for its neighbors at all times of the day and night. The state should not be ending patrols in the dark or starting those seven hours later after sunrise. The Metro Police Department should not have sole responsibility for patrolling that area. The State needs to pursue every available option with a reasonable amount of speed to secure Bicentennial Mall at night.
I hope that you will take initiative to see that these things happen. I look forward to your reply, which I will publish on my weblog for the community to see.
Thank you for your service.
Mike Byrd (a.k.a., S-townMike)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
In the wake of September's Bicentennial Mall rape of a local resident, I sent the following letter to State House Representative Mary Pruitt (Dist. 58) and State Senator Thelma Harper (Dist. 19) encouraging their response on the issue of park security: