‘We are not going to tolerate people destroying our community with drugs and crime,” says Lieutenant Gov. Brad Owen
By John Larson
Those who would consider engaging in criminal activity got a strong message that they are not welcome in Tacoma when Safe Streets held its seventh annual March Against Crime on June 27.
A total of 42 neighborhood watch groups participated in the event, which had residents waving signs at busy intersections around Tacoma and a few unincorporated areas of the county.
The event began with speeches and sign making at Stewart Middle School on Pacific Avenue. Priscilla Lisicich, executive director of Safe Streets, told the volunteers that they inspire her with their commitment to improving their neighborhoods.
Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, who grew up in Tacoma, recalled being a student at Stewart in the early 1960s. He said that at that time Tacoma was very safe and peaceful. Owen said the key to combating crime is for area residents to band together and form partnerships with police and organizations.
“We are not going to tolerate people destroying our community with drugs and crime,” Owen remarked. “Thank you very much for what you do.”
Darren Pen, a community mobilization specialist with Safe Streets, said about 1,000 people were expected to be at intersections around the city waving signs with anti-crime slogans.
“Daren is a super organizer,” said State Senator Steve Conway.
State Representative Connie Ladenburg recalled the reputation Tacoma had in the 1980s. She said it was considered by some people to be the crime capital of the Northwest. She thanked those whose efforts have helped to change that reputation.
For five of the groups that were stationed around intersections, this was their first time participating in March Against Crime. Tacoma City Councilmember Marty Campbell said he was glad to see new people get involved.
“The organization is great,” said Councilmember Jake Fey. “Thank you very much for getting out there and supporting your community.”