Superman Isn’t Coming, Change Comes From Within
Lately, I've been writing and talking a lot about the state of Shreveport. You would think Shreveport is a third world country based on the posts you see on social media. Which is just ridiculous. Yes, Shreveport has its fair share of problems but it is a far cry from the picture that is painted by some in the community.
During Steven Jackson's mayoral campaign, he constantly said "Superman isn't coming." Now, Steven was referring to a massive company moving to town and fixing all the economic woes of the city. But, I think we could apply that to the city as a whole. No savior is coming to town to fix all our issues and turn this city into Pleasantville. Its not going to happen.
With voters set to elect a mayor in December, a lot of folks are eyeing Adrian Perkins as the man that can fix all of the city's woes. Well, here's the truth folks, Adrian can't fix what's wrong with the city. He's a good kid. He's a smart kid. I think he may be able to make some changes that can help the city grow. His resume will open doors that others can't get into...but, he can't fix the issues that seem to upset so many in our community.
Folks want to complain about trash, crime, blight, etc.. and they expect the mayor (whether it be Ollie or Adrian) to fix that and clean up the city for them. And while the mayor can inspire change, they can't do everything on their own. Neither can the Police Chief or City Council. Change comes from the bottom up not the top down.
Let me put it this way...if you don't take care of your property, you get varmints. If you don't clean up after yourself, if you leave trash out, if you let your property fall into disrepair, rats and roaches will move in and take over your home. And that's EXACTLY what is happening with Shreveport.
You want to know why crime has risen is the past few years? Because we haven't been handling our business. We have no sense of pride in our city. The people here lack a sense of ownership. It would seem that the vast majority of people are content to sit on the sidelines and watch the city fall instead of putting in the work to help lift it up.
I consistently see people throwing trash out their vehicles, damaging property without alerting the proper authorities, etc.. And then you wonder why our city is ugly or there is so much crime. We've neglected our home for far too long and now we have an infestation. If you want the crime rate to drop and value of the city to go up, you have to actually do the work.
If you're trying to raise the value of your personal property, you mow your lawn, paint your house, fix what needs fixing...you don't complain to your neighbor until they do it for you. No mayor, no company, no business is going to do the work for you. There is TONS of research on how to reduce crime in neighborhoods...and most of it revolves around engaging your neighbors, keeping the lights on and streets clean. All things we can do on our own without the government getting involved. To quote my dad, "you can't win a fight if you never throw a punch".
When I wrote my last post, I saw A LOT of comments that said, "What is there to be proud of?" There is a lot to be proud of in our region. We have tons of amazing history. We some beautiful scenery, historical buildings and sites...all the things that every other city in the country has. What we're missing is a sense of ownership. Why would any company invest money into a city where the citizenry creates a negative atmosphere full of hate and misery?
And, going back to the crime numbers just for a second. People like to paint this picture of Bossier City being Green Acres place...which just isn't true. With numbers adjusted for 100,00 citizens, there were 949 violent crimes in Shreveport. In Bossier, there were 843. In fact, Bossier City outpaced Shreveport in assaults (650 in BC compared to 597 in Shreveport). In a rating of a neighborhood's livability, Bossier barely beats Shreveport...but only because of the quality of schools.
So, this idea that Bossier is way safer than Shreveport is a misconception. Bossier isn't the promised land or some mythical safe haven. The only real difference is that citizens of Bossier have a sense of ownership and pride that citizens in Shreveport just don't.
With all that said, yes the mayor and city council can do a lot better as well. They need to hold up their end of the bargain. They need to keep the street lights on. They need to motivate the citizens to strive to be better. Maybe Adrian or Ollie can do that over the next 4 years. Maybe not. Either way, we can't wait for someone to hold our hand and make everything better. We need to take action into our own hands and start fixing things. Superman isn't coming. Superman doesn't exist. If you want to find a superhero, look in the mirror.