Sullivan insisted on the importance of this as a form of crime prevention.
“I’ve heard comments about this as just putting lipstick and kind of a mask on it,” he said. “Call it what you will, but community blight is a proven concept. It’s just like why you clean your kitchen or your restroom. If you don’t, then there’s an infestation of insects and rodents that all carry disease. Our infestation here is the criminal element and one of the tactics and proven techniques is ridding the community of the evident blight; 50,000 pounds of trash in a roughly 24-block square area is a heck of a lot of blight.”
City Manager Lance Howerton told the Index that he agreed with Sullivan’s assessment that the project was a success in its first year.
“As with anything, you have to start from someplace and we’ve made some very good progress in this first effort,” he said. “The whole basis of this is to see if we can attack the problem of crime, not only from the standpoint of additional patrol and other traditional types of policing activities, but also trying to address some of the core issues that cause crime. I think the community responded well as evidenced by the amount of participation and the number of people at the meeting [Tuesday] night that were involved in this project.
“I’m very pleased with our police department and the way that they embraced this program. I’m very pleased with the groups within our community that embraced this program and were involved in it and also the individuals in the project area that took advantage to make their community stronger and safer. This gives us a good place from which to launch our second year Project 365 and hopefully see the same kinds of results in the upcoming year.”