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City's crime problem irritates citizens

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 20, 2001
Unresolved problems with a high number of burglaries, robberies and drug deals have irritated a group of Meridian residents to such an extent that they plan to deliver a strong message to the mayor and city council tonight.
Two Meridian Neighborhood Watch groups plan to ask city leaders to appoint a police chief now and hire more officers to combat crime.
Steve Hall and his wife, Beverly, said they want residents to "stand up and show we do have a crime problem in Meridian and we do need increased patrols."
The Halls are members of the Marion Park-Poplar Springs Neighborhood Watch. They and Oakland Heights Neighborhood Watch members will talk to the city council tonight at its 7 p.m. regular meeting.
Tom Hayden, a former Lauderdale County sheriff's deputy who works with the Oakland Heights residents, said the two groups will demand that city councilmen find a way to budget more police officers, increase neighborhood patrols and ensure that police officers receive pay raises.
Both Hayden and the Halls said they want councilmen to work the demands into the next city budget that starts Oct. 1, 2002. Hall said he would not support a tax increase to pay for the demands, and both said the city can find money elsewhere within their budget.
Hayden said the groups also plan to circulate a petition demanding that council members ensure that:
all laws and ordinances are enforced;
the city increases patrols in residential areas;
the city takes a proactive, rather than reactive, stance against crime.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at