The men's homeless shelter is (possibly) moving. University Square is (probably) being torn down and rebuilt. Halloween is (already) getting smaller.
I asked incoming police chief Chis Blue on Monday if all the changes downtown are coincidence or reflect a greater concern about safety, perhaps since Eve Carson was killed.
Both he and Town Manager Roger Stancil said no, there's no grand design. But both said growth, especially downtown, requires Chapel Hill to think differently about how it protects people. The town is expected to add 30,000 people by 2035.
"That growth requires us to think differently about community safety," Blue said.
"It's a different world then when this was the village of Chapel Hill and we were separate," Stancil added. "Regional rail will break those barriers even more."
I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense. Highways give criminals easy access and a quick getaway. I suppose regional rail is really just another form of highway.
In today's Chapel Hill News, Blue talks about the department's strategic plan, the months long process the police are using the determine the future of how they keep us safe. Already, he says, they know the public wants officers to be more visible. "They really want to see officers," he said.
I asked how many of the town's 121 sworn officers officers are on a shift now. You may be surprised as I was to learn there are only a dozen on patrol at any one time, not including the downtown and specialized squads. Blue says they're going to look at whether it to move officers from less-visible specialized jobs to positions that put more of them on the street.
Read our story today and tell us what you think about safety in Chapel Hill in a comment below or at firstname.lastname@example.org