Crime crackdown psychologically necessary

Operation Neighborhood Redemption, a dramatic moniker for a deadly serious period in the life of this city. The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, along with the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Department of Community Supervision, joined in an effort to, as Sheriff David Davis put it, remove “some of the hoodlums and villains who have been preying on the good people on these streets and who have tarnished Macon-Bibb County’s reputation.”

The dragnet took 48 of those hoodlums and villains off the streets along with 13 guns. And one of the troubling aspects of the catch is its census. Twenty of the 48 are in their 20s and 11 of those are 25 years old or younger. Three are women and four teens were caught up in the sweep, two of them just 17. The oldest? 63.

Some of the captured were low level drug dealers, parole violators and other petty criminals, even a few people behind on child support or had charges for marijuana possession. Still others were wanted for more serious offenses.

And while this sweep was necessary, we’re sure even the sheriff knows the operation only scratched the surface. There are still others waiting to create more mayhem. The problem? To lock up just those 48 hoodlums and villains costs Bibb County taxpayers roughly $2,400 a day. That’s before any of them have seen medical staff or a prescription filled.

It is unfortunate, but our largest mental hospital is disguised as a law enforcement center. That is not to say these 48 should have been left on the street. No. Everyone knows crime, particularly armed robberies, have been getting out of hand of late. Workers at dollar stores should receive combat pay, and last week, Taco Bell was the target of choice when two restaurants on opposite sides of the county were robbed on the same day.

While it is impossible to tell, sweeps of this nature are not likely to keep those inclined to shoot from continuing to do so. Getting caught, as was the case Wednesday for 25-year-old Anterrio Tremaine Stinson, charged with committing this year’s 27th homicide, wasn’t hindered. But maybe instead of shooting, they will be sitting in jail — at least through the holidays.