The streets of Richfield are lined with American flags. Some residents had already moved their lawn furniture close to the sidewalk in hopes of getting a better view of the annual Fourth of July Parade. Richfield Library has a huge sign posted advertising the planned “Music in the Park” for the Fourth of July. The Richfield parade has happened every year since 1980, when people came together to offer a celebration that would honor veterans and bring the community together.
But this year, there will be no celebration in Richfield, because police have said that there is a risk of gang violence. Last year police confiscated 3 guns and arrested multiple gang members who were causing disruptions.
So how do we as a community deal with this kind of threat? Some would say that we should follow the criminal justice theory of “Broken Window Policing.” According to this theory, a neighborhood becomes dangerous when we as citizens stop caring about it. Thus, if there are a few buildings with broken windows, people with ill intent will see this and think that the area is abandoned, making it “ripe for the picking” for thieves, drug-dealers and other types of criminals. The Broken Window theory further advises people to take care of their homes and to let people know that they are at home. This can be done by adding security lights, being sure to pick up the newspaper by the front door, or simply mowing one’s lawn often. The act of putting up an American flag on the Fourth of July can be seen as adhering to this theory because it lets people know that the people who live in that house are home for the holiday, not away on a summer vacation.
Another theory of policing is called “Community Policing.” According to this theory, the best thing a police department can do is to encourage people in the community to come together at peaceful events, (like a parade,) and get to know each other. The success of Neighborhood Watch Programs is based upon Community Policing, as is the idea of community gardens and all community events where police can show up and get to meet the residents.
To this author’s knowledge, there is no modern theory of policing that answers crime by saying that we should simply capitulate to the wants and needs of criminals. If criminals take over an area, it is not wise for citizens or police to run away from this threat, it only makes the criminals think that they have been victorious. They then grow bolder and move even further into the neighborhood. Today was supposed to be a day for people of all ages, and all cultural backgrounds to come together and celebrate the freedom that Americans fought so hard for. Now it is a day where we are hiding in our homes to avoid being harassed or harmed by gang members.
Richfield police have tried to tell the community that this is really no big deal. They say that there might be some events still happening in Richfield, but they want to cancel the carnival because it was a “hot spot” for crime. It is important to note that it was also a “hot spot” for citizens of Richfield who simply wanted to come together as a community and celebrate the independence of our country.
for the parade. The tabs on the top of this website show additional information about Family Night, a street dance, a car show, and other event. It was planned that there would be a band playing in the park, and the night’s events would begin with a “kiddie parade.” Fireworks would follow.
The Grand Marshal for this year was supposed to be the Richfield High School Girls’ Basketball team, who recently earned a third place title in the Class AAA State Tournament. These girls also were great students, earning an average grade point average of 3.23. It was planned that the parade would start at 1 p.m. on Nicollet Avenue and 70th Street, go north on Nicollet Avenue to 66th Street, and turn east until it ended at 11th Avenue. For more information of what our community could look like if we stood up to criminals, see the original website for the intended Fourth celebration. http://www.richfield4thofjuly.com/
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