It’s always nice to get a letter published in my local newspaper, The Des Moines Register. It’s also always of interest to me to see how the letter is titled and what edits are made. Below is my original letter and then the edited version.

Background to my letter

It’s always been known that there are gang problems in Des Moines, mostly an extension of gang activity in Chicago. It turns out, to the surprise of many law-abiding citizens, that there was a pretty well-organized gang centered around Cheatom Park. Fortunately for all of us, an FBI and local police investigation led to the breakup and arrest of gang members.

The genesis of my response

As a board member of my local neighborhood association, I take crime very seriously no matter where it happens in Des Moines. After extensive research, I truly began to see the crime-prevention and crime-fighting power of neighborhood associations and their related programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Operation Identification, National Night Out and 9-1-1. It was out of this, that I saw a gaping need to modernize Operation Identification.
mypropertyidregistry.com/2019/01/01/five-old-fashioned-ways-to-help-police

My unedited version

“I am so grateful to the FBI and local law enforcement for the breakup of the C-Block gang. While society will be safer by incarcerating these men, I am also reminded that they all had beginnings as children and were, somewhere along the line, introduced to a life of crime.

“To strengthen our neighborhoods, and help young perpetrators get the help they need before it’s too late, Des Moines needs to strengthen the time-tested tools that have been at our disposal for decades: neighborhood associations, Neighborhood Watch and Operation Identification.”

The Des Moines Register version

Title: “Give Des Moines kids alternatives to gangs.”

“I am so grateful to the FBI and local law enforcement for the breakup of the C-Block gang [What we know about the 15 suspected gang members charged in federal drug sweep in Des Moines]. While society will be safer by incarcerating these men, I am also reminded that they all had beginnings as children and were, somewhere along the line, introduced to a life of crime.

“To strengthen our neighborhoods and help young perpetrators get the help they need before it’s too late, Des Moines needs to strengthen the time-tested tools that have been at our disposal for decades. These tools include our neighborhood associations, neighborhood watch teams and operation identification.”
desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/readers/2019/03/25/letters-democrats-get-over-mueller-report/3245274002