Posted by: Cobb County Liberal | May 14, 2009

Cherokee: Reading between the lines on crime

In what would have been an ordinary, run of the mill article about gang activity in Cherokee (which is probably very small, lets face it, its Cherokee county), a few alarm bells began ringing.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office assembled a team of 35 extra officers to hit the streets Wednesday after complaints of gang activity from residents…

Baker said he did not know what crimes the suspected gang members are connected to, but they showed signs of gang activity.

In addition to the arrests, officers made contact with more than 100 residents, including some who were acting suspiciously.

Fighting gang crime?  Sounds like a good idea to me.  However, this seems to go above and beyond and gets a little too police-stateish for my tastes.  People were persumed to be guilty by how they looked (the very broad “suspicious”) and not by what they did.  Yes, they caught some people wanted for things or found crimes they were guilty of, but at what cost?  More than 100 people had their right to privacy stomped all over by Cherokee county, over 85% of whom did nothing wrong but live where they live.  If Cherokee County wanted to cut down on its admitedly low gang crime, there are better ways to do this than start sweeping the streets to scare innocent people.

And the sweep was led by…

the sheriff’s Violent Incident Proactive Enforcement Response (VIPER) unit, which was created at the end of last year to combat a crime spike, Baker said.

Anyone else out there find that spooky?  Proactive crime fighting?  Why not just toss us all in jail?


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