Many good things have come with our year-round business climate, which has been built by those that have invested their time and money.
Shops and restaurants have worked together to provide products and activities all 12 months of the year. The Salem's So Sweet events of last week would be a prime example of those efforts.
It is unfortunate that there are a few bad apples out there who always find a way to bring a little negative into the equation.
Usually when windows are broken or other acts of vandalism are committed, the offenders are younger. As a young teen in the early 1970s, I was sometimes guilty of these small acts of foolishness. When the pedestrian mall was first completed, it was lit by short, square lamps that ran along its length. My Point buddies and I smashed a few over the summer one year, but that was all. We were soon encouraged to grow out of that behavior.
It would seem that this winter, it is not just the youth of Salem who have chosen to act the fool.
Last week two men, one who is 47 and another who is 30, were arrested for destroying one of the ice sculptures. This one was a dragon bought and paid for by Bewitched in Salem, a store owned and operated year-round by a native Salem couple. Grown men should not behave in this manner.
A few days later, a 30-year-old man was arrested for not only destroying an ice sculpture, but also for damaging the Paul Revere Bell at Armory Park. His weapon of choice was, of course, ice from the destroyed sculpture.
Walk the downtown early any Saturday or Sunday morning. It is not unusual to see plants ripped from window boxes, large planters overturned or even windows broken. These are not accidents, and these are not usually acts committed by kids. Most, if not all of these acts, are perpetrated by patrons of local drinking establishments. Those old enough to drink are not kids any longer.
Most of those who panhandle downtown are also adults. We all know the wheelchair guys. There is one who likes to trap women in their cars by rolling up to their doors as they park. Another one is well known for using his alms for purchasing scratch tickets. Neither is homeless or hungry.
There is a group of brothers who panhandle frequently. One of their favorite things to do with the money they garnered this past summer was to buy cheap dish detergent. If washing pots and pans was the goal, that would not have been terrible. What they did multiple times was pour the detergent into the fountain at Town House Square. I know this because I have pictures of these guys, all in their 50s, pouring the soap into the water.
We should not tolerate this sort of behavior from anybody, but especially from supposed adults. If you see it, report it. Take pictures or videos and forward them to the police, your city councilor and the Mayor's office. There must be consequences, and the businesses victimized deserve restitution.
We all have a voice in this town. One or two voices may not make much noise, but if we put our voices together, there will be both sound and fury. Yell it from the rooftops, Salem. Yell it loud enough for those who choose to be foolish to hear you.
We are the voices in Salem.
- To contact the Salem Police for a non-emergency call 978-744-1212.
- To contact the Mayor's Office call 978-745-9595 x 5600.
- For information on contacting your councilor, click here.