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Letís take our cities back from criminals - one block at a time

By Dan Juneau -   Jun 14, 2007

It was a Rosa Parks moment for Cathy Toliver. Returning home from church on Sunday, she found three young burglars in her Baton Rouge home stealing her possessions. She refused to assume the role of victim. Instead, she ran them out and chased them through her neighborhood, hollering through her car windows for neighbors to call the police.

She pinned one of the culprits against a fence with her vehicle but had to back off when he aimed a pistol squarely at her face.

Cathy Toliver threw caution to the wind, because she was tired of living in fear of crime and was not going to take it any more-and she is not going away.

She is forming an organization called "Women Fighting Back" to rally women to challenge crime head on and to take back their neighborhoods. If others follow Toliver's leadership, the biggest cancer hindering the lives of millions in America's cities may start to be cured.

Crime is stealing the future in many inner-city neighborhoods.

Schools can't work when addressing crime, and security consumes much of the resources and focus of the institutions.

Rampant crime has driven down property values and all but killed the once-thriving neighborhood economies in many cities.

A few decades ago, shops and stores were more plentiful in inner-city neighborhoods. There was an entrepreneurial class providing essential services and creating jobs.

Today, crime has stolen the underpinnings of ordinary life that are taken for granted in areas not plagued by decades of increasing lawlessness.

Crime doesn't exist long where crime isn't tolerated.

Cathy Toliver is an excellent example of what it will take to root out crime and criminals where they now operate with near impunity.

Make no mistake, it will be extremely difficult to turn around the culture of crime that plagues too many areas of our nation's cities.

But it can be done. It must be done - one apartment complex, one block, one neighborhood, and one city at a time. It will take many more Cathy Tolivers who are willing to stand up against criminals and organize others to do the same.

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