Sunday, December 17, 2017
David Hargroder: Joplin area impacted by ongoing meth epidemic
In the past several months I have both observed and been told about the growing problem of the transient type having an effect on both residential neighborhoods as well as local small businesses. It has been brought to my attention that many of these “transient seeming people” are, in fact, involved with the trafficking of methamphetamine throughout the city.
Missouri has long been regarded as the methamphetamine capital of the United States, and while national statistics have been showing a State wide decrease in manufacturing, the same can’t be said for all parts of the State.
It doesn’t take a genius to notice the growing epidemic that continues to plague both the citizens and small business of the greater Joplin area. It merely takes 15 minutes of sitting in your vehicle around the 7th and Sergeant area to notice the exponential growth of middle-aged individuals on foot with backpacks loitering in various parking lots.
While it is safe to assume that not every middle-aged individual walking with a backpack is involved in the meth trade, the mere presence of such individuals seems to be contributing to both a diminishing feeling of security by residences in their homes as well as creating an unfortunate detriment to thriving small businesses in the area.
Anyone familiar with the service industry in Joplin knows that bars and restaurants on 7th street from around 7th and Main to 7th and Maiden Lane is where you can find some of the city's most popular establishments.
Unfortunately, it is many of these establishments that are being directly effected by this ongoing problem. So, that then poses the question, can anything be done to get this problem under control? The answer is not a simple one to say the least. Sure, citizens could ban together and begin battling loitering in an attempt to curb foot traffic in the area(s), but that would likely only accomplish a kick of the proverbial bucket down the road.
Joplin is a town that knows the meaning of perseverance more so than most, and has even been globally recognized for having citizens that go above and beyond for their fellow man in times of need.
From the users that destroy their own lives to those effected by the crime associated with using, many people, neighborhoods, and small businesses currently need help.
This is not to encourage vigilantism, rather to simply encourage the public to be more aware and observant of its surroundings.
If something looks suspicious, report it. If someone is in your neighborhood or around your business, the presence of which gives you an inherent bad feeling, report it.
Just remember, the police can only do so much, and investigations that actually lead to search and arrest warrants can take months to be signed off on by a judge.
At the end of the day, no resident should feel scared in their own neighborhood and no small business should suffer because of suspicious criminal activity. If you see something that you think looks suspicious, it’s likely for good reason. And don’t forget, any and and all crimes can be reported anonymously.
(David Hargroder is a Webb City resident with degrees in political science and law from Louisiana universities. He will be taking the Missouri Bar exam in February.)