A familiar lament

I received something a bit unusual when I got into the office Tuesday morning.
Actually, it was something I get every day, but this one had a twist.
It was a voice-mail. Not all that unusual.

From a police chief. I talk to several every week.

It was to thank us for something we did. Now you’re talking a bit more novel.

Darby Township Chief Robert Thompson wanted to thank me for my print column that appeared in the Monday newspaper. In it I said I had a new hero. That would be Arnetia “Billie” Blandford, who has lived in Darby Township for more than 50 years and who is now calling on the community to rally around her call to an end to the violence that plagues all too many of our towns.

She had led a community meeting with the chief. He had called to say he appreciated the column and the decision of the newspaper to shed some light on the issues facing him and, in fact, police chiefs, all over the county.

It took all of one day to see more proof of the daunting task Chief Thompson is facing.

Today’s newspaper details the 37th homicide in Delaware County this year, but the first in Darby Township.

A 67-year-old woman became a victim inside her Clifton Avenue home. Police believe two men who invaded her home were looking for drugs belonging to her son.
Altimese “Autie” Roberts suffered a gruesome death. Police say her hands, feet and mouth were duct taped.

A neighbor called her “one of the nicest ladies on the block.”

It is a familiar story to Thompson. It involves drugs and money, and what people are willing to do for both.

My thoughts continue to be with people like Thompson and Arnetia Blandford.

The job is not getting any easier.


Anonymous said…
Arnetia "Billie" Blandford is my aunt (mother's sister) and Altimese "Autie" Roberts is the mother of some of my friends. I graduated from high school with her daughter in 1982. I moved to VA in 1994, and can tell you that the news of killing, murder, home invasions, etc is SICKENING!!! This has got to stop! The residents of this town have got to come together to stand up against these "VERY YOUNG CRIMINALS" who have no regard or respect for life. Miss Autie's death was a senseless waste of life, and my cousin's attempted murder was just as stupid. These criminals need to be stopped, and people have got to start talking to the police. It's time to take back the OLD DARBY TWP! I am so proud of my Aunt Billie. I am praying for my friends, Keith and Dana, and the rest of your brothers & sisters, the entire Robert's family, and for your mother, who's now in heaven. May God bless you all!