Montgomery's 34th Murder Hits Close To Home For County Commissioner

Workers are hammering away on the new Montgomery County jail in downtown Montgomery. If only there was a way to do the same on the city's rising murder rate which currently stands at 35.

"I'm not kidding," said Montgomery County Commissioner Jiles Williams.

Commissioner Williams wasn't kidding when he suggested during the county commission meeting Monday morning that the new jail has already been filled up. The numbers indicate he may be right. Montgomery County pays $1 million a year to house county inmates in 3 other counties. Built in 1984 the old jail was designed for 304 inmates. It now has 700.

"The new jail will hold 1,000 inmates and it will be ready in '08 and people will still be going to jail," Williams said.

The weekend murder of George Lewis, a close friend helped convince Williams to encourage his fellow commissioners to publicly support Montgomery city councilman Willie Cook's proposal of a 'crime-free weekend' in mid-October, and perhaps do the same in the county.

"Let us focus on one weekend when we consciously decide not to commit any crimes," Cook said.

"I realize we're talking to the choir. The people that need the message aren't getting the message, the people in the churches aren't doing it," said Williams.

Another idea from Janet Treat; cub scouts.

"It's not going to be easy. It's going to have to be contagious but if everyone is desperate enough to make a change they nee to be involved with their children instead of just leaving them on the streets. Scouting teaches children character and how to be a good citizen," said Treat who is the Cub Scouts Master at Taylor Road Baptist Church in Montgomery.

No easy answers, no overnight solutions. The city is holding at 35 murders with 3 months left to go in the year.

That 35 figure is far from a record. The city recorded 52 homicides in 1975. By comparison the city recorded 18 murders 3 years ago.

The county commission, meantime, went along with Williams' request. Two weeks from today, commissioners are expected to vote and set aside a date for its own 'crime-free weekend' for the county.