Rodney Queen says solution to crime is leaving no child behind
SALISBURY — Rodney Queen says that in the past few years, Salisbury has become known for four things: its downtown, its historic district, its high rate of poverty and its high crime rate.
Queen said that while the first two things are getting better, the latter two are getting worse.
“I feel like our city’s getting too far out of balance,” Queen said. “We’re going to have to go to the root of the problem and find a solution.”
Queen said the root of the city’s crime and poverty problems is that children are being “left behind” in Salisbury.
“Right now, a lot of kids drop out of high school or get in trouble and get out of high school,” Queen said. “Their only hope — or their only solution — is joining a gang or selling drugs.”
Queen said that city staff members have become too focused on eliminating crime that already exists. Instead, he said, they should be worried about the “pipeline” that feeds crime.
“There’s not a lot you can do to break up the gangs that you have now,” Queen said. “What you’ve got to do is cut off the pipeline to the gangs. We’ve got to find a solution for the kids before their best solution becomes selling drugs or joining a gang.”
Queen said he has personal experience with the circumstances that many Salisbury kids face.
“I will openly admit that I’m a welfare kid. I grew up on welfare,” he said. “I have Tourette’s syndrome. With Tourette’s syndrome came poor comprehensive capabilities. I struggled to retain what I learned and what I read and what I studied.”
“Later in life, I learned how to learn and I progressed and did well,” he continued. “A lot of kids don’t do that. If we don’t find a way to get them a position in this community, then we’re going to constantly fight the same battles.”
Queen, 69, runs Norwood Nursery LLC and is an Army veteran of the Vietnam era.
Contact Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.
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