Help Is Needed To Solve Shootings

Two springtime shootings on Jamestown’s north side are, to date, unsolved.

The first happened in the early evening of April 21 at Chadakoin Park and sent one person to WCA Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The second incident on May 31 resulted in 12 rounds fired into a home on the 100 block of West Seventh Street. Five people were inside the home at the time.

It is disappointing that no one has been charged in relation to either incident, but Jamestown residents are at least partly to blame. It’s hard to investigate a crime when potential witnesses neither saw nor heard any wrongdoing.

“Of course, we’re interested in finding out who was involved,” Harry Snellings, Jamestown police chief, said after the Chadakoin Park incident. “… as of right now, unless the victim changes his mind or wants to press charges, we have nothing to go on.”

Those who have remained silent, or have gone a step further and been blatantly uncooperative with police investigations, are playing a dangerous game that needs to come to an end.

Jamestown is by and large a safe place to live and in which to raise a family, but shootings like this give the entire city a bad reputation as unsafe. Allowing these incidents to continue unpunished merely reinforces that reputation. It hurts property values and Jamestown’s tax base by driving potential homeowners into the suburbs. It hurts the quality of neighborhoods by keeping people locked inside their homes rather than being out, socializing with their neighbors. And, eventually, one of these shootings will result in serious injury or death to an innocent bystander.

Any solution to these incidents must go far beyond the Jamestown Police Department. It must involve a fed-up community – city leaders, business owners, residents and yes, those who witness the incidents or who hear bits and pieces of information that could help police charge those who would unsafely shoot guns in neighborhoods.

Enough is enough.