What Is Going On In Red Bank?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wholesome neighborhoods, low crime area, small town atmosphere, everyone knows each other by their first name, family friendly. When my husband and I were shopping for our first house in prepartion for our expanding family, those were the phrases that our then realtor used to describe Red Bank.

I had grown up in Chattanooga, though I wasn't all that familiar with the Red Bank area, and my husband wasn't from here. It sounded good to us, and as we were getting closer and closer to the arrival of our firstborn, our quaint little house in Red Bank seemed like the answer to our prayers.

We happily moved in the late summer of 1997, and by late fall of that year, our baby girl had arrived. And for many years, our family existence was exactly as we hoped. Very little to no crime, kids happily playing in the yards. When you walked down the street, your neighbors were friendly and waved.

Sadly here we are, almost 16 years later, and it has totally changed. I wouldn't use the phrases our then realtor used to describe Red Bank, at least not anymore. I would use words like drugs, increasing crime rate, and not near as family friendly as it once was. Just in the last two weeks, a Red Bank High School student was shot in a drive by shooting, and a man with explosives in his house surrendered to Red Bank SWAT after an hours-long standoff. All of this nonsense happened less than a mile from my house... and yet we supposedly live in the "good part" of Red Bank... meaning the lower crime area. Within the last couple of years, there have been countless stories of theft (which we have been victims of), car breaks ins, drug houses, and now we can add drive by shootings and houses full of explosives to the list.

I must ask the question... what in God's name is going on in Red Bank? To be clear before people start debating and pointing fingers, no, I'm not blaming the Red Bank Police Department. I want to know where all these drugs are coming from? I want to know why there are children, ranging from the ages of approximately 11 years old to 17 years old wandering all over Red Bank at all hours of the day and night? Why are these kids not in school or at home? I believe the simplest answer to some of these questions, but perhaps not all, is drugs.

People say well, that's just what happens... the more an area grows, the more the crime rates grow. That might be true in the case of Chattanooga... it's still the "small town between Nashville and Atlanta", but it has greatly grown up since the days of my childhood. The same can't be said of Red Bank. Red Bank is hardly growing at all... so if it's hardly growing at all, why is crime growing here? More importantly, what can be done about it?

I look to the actions of Veronica Guerin for answers. She was an Irish crime reporter who was murdered in 1996 by Irish drug lords. Her death prompted the Irish government and the people of Ireland to wage a serious war on drugs. The Irish goverment formed the Criminal Assets Bureau, which is able to freeze assets of suspect drug dealers and kingpins. The citizens of Ireland took to the streets, running the drug dealers, kingpins, and other criminals out of their crime-infested neighborhoods. A year after her murder helped galvanize the people of Ireland, and the Irish government into action, crime rates in Ireland had dropped 15 percent.

Red Bank is in trouble, ladies and gentlemen. Between the drugs and the crime, we are slowly losing our town, our safety, and our children are slowly losing their futures. We need to take our town back. We need to make it safe and promising once again. How do we do that? The best, and strongest way is to make sure kids are exactly where they need to be.... in school. Give a kid some hope, and an education, you'll be surprised how strong that can make them. Keep an eye open in your neighborhoods. If you suspect something is wrong, don't just sit there hoping it will go away, report it. Get to know your neighbors. Keep an eye on your kids. If we come together, we can help make Red Bank the wholesome, family friendly, safe place it once was.

Mariah Smith

Capitol Hill Week Senate And House Republicans

School safety and the state budget headlined action on Capitol Hill this week as Governor Bill Haslam presented an amendment to his fiscal year 2018-2019 spending plan.  The new proposal includes $25 million in nonrecurring and $5.2 million in recurring school safety grants to protect students.  The action comes as members of a School Safety Working Group, appointed earlier ... (click for more)

Cameron Hill (What If?)

I enjoyed looking at the photo article of Cameron Hill, but did so with a sense of sadness and loss. As an old man, retired, I have plenty of reflecting time. I was just a kid, barely 10 years old, when the destruction began, but even in those days I paid more attention to the news than a 10-year-old should, and I remember the controversy between the city and County Historian Zella ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Debating Future Of Mountain Center; Vice Mayor Gee Goes Off Council After Marrying And Moving Out Of Town Limits

A discussion regarding the Mountain Arts Community Center lease and memorandum of agreement with a non- profit organization that has been formed with a proposed to manage it took place at the Signal Mountain town council meeting Friday afternoon. City Manager Boyd Veal had created a document for the purpose of starting a discussion and to identify how the council would like to move ... (click for more)

Students OK After Bag Containing Meth Found At Nolan Elementary

Officials say students at Nolan Elementary School on Signal Mountain are okay after discovering a bag that contained meth. The incident happened on Friday afternoon during a reading fair.  Principal Dr. Shane Harwood sent this message to parents: "Good Afternoon Nolan Families - We wanted to share some information related to an event that has taken ... (click for more)

Ooltewah, Meigs County Post Wins In Ooltewah Invitational Softball

On the first full day of play in the Ooltewah Invitational, the host Lady Owls and two-time Class A state champion Meigs County posted impressive wins at The Summit. Ooltewah’s Hadley Morrow overcame a rough start and scattered seven hits, Kayla Boseman smacked a two-run home run in a three-run fourth inning, center-fielder Addy Keylon made a sensational catch to save a homer ... (click for more)

Hixson Rally Tops Notre Dame In 5-4 Thriller

The Hixson Wildcats collected a dozen hits in Thursday’s baseball win over Boyd-Buchanan and they made it five wins in a row on Friday over Notre Dame, despite getting only half as many hits. The bottom line is this:   Who cares how many hits you get as long as you score more runs than the opposing team? The Wildcats only had six, but they were able to score five runs ... (click for more)