Follow-up: Reality and perception of public safety on greenway


Last week, we reported on a perception, apparently promoted by the High Point Police Department, that one of the city’s greenways is unsafe.

Evidence that the police are discouraging people from using the greenway came from Amanda Eller, a teacher at Johnson Street Global Studies school who said that police Detective Evelyn Dockery told her teaching sorority: “Don’t go to the section [of the greenway] at Andrews [High School] because there’s a lot of gang activity and you don’t want to get involved.”

Notwithstanding Dockery’s disavowal, there’s more evidence that the High Point police are discouraging use of the greenway, or at least sending mixed messages.

Ryan Saunders, a social entrepreneur, and Steve Hollingsworth, a cycling advocate, met with High Point University students last week.┬áSaunders wrote in a March 15 e-mail to High Point City Councilwoman Judy Mendenhall: “One of the girls I met with told me she is an RA at High Point University and that the High Point Police Department comes to their RA training and specifically says that they should not allow their residents to go on the greenway and they themselves should not go on the greenway.”

A response from police Chief Marty Sumner does not directly address whether officers have been telling people to avoid the greenway in general, but underscores the fact that there’s little reason to worry about crime.

“The only issue we have had on the greenway involving a HPU student was a couple years ago when one reported they were robbed on the greenway after dark,” Sumner wrote. “The investigation revealed the student was on the greenway meeting their marijuana dealer and an argument over money led to the alleged robbery. At that time we asked the campus security to remind the students the greenway is part of the parks and is closed after dark.”