Cleveland could draw promising ideas, and perhaps find workable models, in some of the innovative approaches to crime- and safety-related concerns that have been devised and tried out by other cities. Analyzing these programs and their impact on problems common to many American cities could facilitate the development of similar, or different, initiatives in Cleveland. (Source: Cleveland Neighborhood Development Corporation, at http://www.cndc2.org/.)
U.S. Office of Justice Programs FY2003 Grants - Ohio
- In Chicago, IL, the Troubled Buildings Initiative targets properties in danger of deteriorating beyond repair, which frequently leads to abandonment. Different City departments, along with many supporting organizations, put pressure on the owners of these properties through the assessment of fines and other means. Lenders and mortgage holders are also brought into the process of dealing with vacant and abandoned buildings.
- In Humboldt, TN, through rigorous code enforcement, a number of vacant or substandard dwellings, buildings, mobile homes, outbuildings and garages—as well as non-functioning or unsafe cars, vans/SUVs and pick-up trucks—have been removed.
- In New York City, NY, under the Third Party Transfer Initiative, the City, working with Neighborhood Restore (composed of representatives from leading financial institutions and CDCs, and mediators) find responsible landlords for distressed properties, speed up the transfer of ownership of these properties, and ensure development assistance from the City.
- In Providence, RI, because abandoned cars were a major problem, and there was no easy way to report the problem, the Providence Police Department created a nuisance complaint form. Residents complete these forms and give them directly to the Weed & Seed program coordinator, who is responsible for contacting the agency charged with taking care of abandoned vehicles.
- In Boston, MA, an intervention strategy program to help families support at-risk youth was created through Operation Home Front: A police officer and a community leader (e.g., block watch captain or a member of the clergy) go to the home of youths whose conduct shows warning signs of gang involvement and speak with the families.
- In Burlington, VT, the Public Safety Project, in partnership with Club Youth Speak-Out, a local youth initiative, held a Pizza-and-“What I Hate about My Neighborhood” Party. The response was outstanding: Every other Friday night 10 to 15 junior high and high school students now come together to work on changing something they dislike about the neighborhood.
- In Eugene, OR, Safe Havens, comprising 49 different programs and spread over 11 sites (such as Bethel public schools, Bethel Branch Library, Peterson Barn Community Center and the Red Cross), provides alternative activities for at-risk youth that are both appealing and constructive. These include literary pursuits, art programs and (the most popular) a teen club. The Cascade Truancy Prevention Project targets attendance problems in local schools by providing help with homework, home visits and whatever special services might be needed to address individual or family problems negatively impacting school attendance or academic success. The Willamette Youth Interns Program provides high school students with job experience through internships with Weed and Seed-affiliated programs.
- In Humboldt, TN, school dropout rates decreased as a result of the availability of additional assistance in a "safe haven—where two certified teachers provide additional assistance to students who need help with their school work. Other services offered include computer training, health information, and recreational activities. One of the most successful programs is Challenges & Choices, a youth violence prevention program that has police officers using different strategies to teach third, fifth, and seventh graders how to defuse potentially violent situations that arise among their peers.
- In Philadelphia, PA, adult volunteers (55 and older) were paired with youth, ages 10-13, in a program designed to create bonds of trust through community service activities, a life skills curriculum, and parent training workshops. The older mentors give youths the support and encouragement they need to resist such negative forces in their environment as drugs or violence.
- In Phoenix, AZ, where street gangs and drugs are a major concern, neighborhood officials and police officers target at-risk youths in order to educate them about the dangers posed by these activities. Third and fourth graders participate in a program called GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training); fifth and sixth graders, in DARE (Drug Awareness and Resistance Education). Also, the Alwun House Foundation's Garfield Youth and Leadership Group provides a prevention-through-the-arts program and sponsors marches against crime, drugs, and violence.
- In Richmond, KY, interventions targeting high school freshman included conflict resolution training and the formation of a SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) club. All students referred for behavioral problems were required to go through the Violence Prevention Curriculum; teachers, to attend professional development sessions on the topic of "good student/teacher relationships". School security assessments, crisis response drills and a committee that monitors violent incidents were put into place.
- In Tempe, AZ, a number of programs were created, including one known as Chicanos por la Causa, which involves home visits, a daily police presence on the school campus, after-school activities designed to boost self-esteem, and a special community event (e.g., a Cinco de Mayo festival that gave police officers from that neighborhood's beat an opportunity to meet community members).
- In Trenton, NJ, the SCOOP program (Social Celebrations Opportunities Organizations People) offers youth, ages 7-18, more than 100 activities after school and on Saturdays. The program was started when city leaders decided that children should not be held back from participating in activities because of lack of money, transportation, or geographical access. More than 700 children participate, and 3,000 are registered with the program.
Burglary & Theft
- In London , England , a study showed a noticeable reduction in retail shop burglaries when closed-circuit television was introduced to the area.
- In Portland , OR , a study showed that improving the lighting of a retail district reduces the number of burglaries that occur, since burglars are more likely to target less lit areas for fear of being seen. Improved lighting provides the greatest benefit for minimal cost.
- In Roseville , MN , home to two of the state's largest shopping malls, shoplifting was a major issue. The Roseville Police Department now offers shoplifting prevention courses to owners and employees of retail establishments that cover such subjects as how to spot a shoplifter, what to do if they notice shoplifting, and how to detect suspicious checks and credit cards.
- In Seattle, WA, the Southeast Seattle Community Safety Initiative, Seattle Police Department, and Homesight (a community development corporation) targeted commercial buildings with high levels of crime. The first two worked together to reduce crime in those buildings, while Homesight centered community development projects around these sites. Volunteers were crucial to this effort, enabling Homesight and the SPD to move quickly into, and to complete, projects that would otherwise have required significant fundraising efforts.
- In Toledo, OH, threatened by the loss of business to the suburbs, blight, the perception of crime and the demolition of historic buildings, the Lagrange Development Corporation, neighborhood business owners, local community leaders, and the Toledo Police Department came together to establish the Lagrange Main Street Program to revitalize the neighborhood's central commercial street.
- In Burlington, VT, low levels of pride and a sense of despair felt by many residents led to the Public Safety Project. Created by the Burlington Police Department, the City’s Community and Economic Development Office—with the help of neighborhood residents and elected officials, several nonprofit agencies, and the University of Vermont—the project is staffed by five AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers who are constantly on the streets making contact with residents, showing them that something is being done to combat the problem.
- In Humboldt, TN, residents say they felt safer when police increased their presence in the community with bicycle and foot patrols in the targeted area.
- In Tempe, AZ, though area residents were very angry and suspicious of certain individuals and their activities, they were afraid to report crimes occurring within their community because, on the one hand, they feared retribution from local drug dealers and, on the other, felt they had been abandoned by the police. The Beat 16 project (named for the police beat on which it focuses) was created to enable residents to reclaim their neighborhood. Once residents felt comfortable with the officers assigned the project, information began pouring in about illegal activities taking place in the neighborhood.
- In Buffalo, NY, residents were invited to work alongside seven law enforcement officials on a 46-member Steering Committee charged with developing policies designed to promote better relations and more effective collaboration between police and residents.
- In Little Rock, AR, a Citizen's Police Academy was created to allow residents to participate in law enforcement activities and to share their concerns with officers; and, with funding from the City, the Officer Next Door program was set up to help police officers purchase homes in high-crime neighborhoods. The officers were required to commit to the residence for a period of five years.
- In Minneapolis, MN, the Franklin Avenue Community Safety Center was established in the heart of a crime-plagued business district to foster and facilitate cooperation between police and the community’s residents, who now work together to reduce crime, exchange information, address livability issues, and enhance crime prevention methods.
- In Phoenix, AZ, plainclothes and beat officers from the Neighborhood Enforcement Team participate in monthly meetings at which residents lay out their concerns relating to crime in their community. Law enforcement officers also participate in Block Watch and Drug Free Zone programs; and the Phoenix Police Department provides the community with a written report showing law enforcement activity in the neighborhood during the month.
- In Portland, OR, the Shop-with-a-Cop program, teamed up 45 police officers with 99 kids for a shopping trip to the local Fred Meyer department store. Each of the kids was given a store gift card, a bag of school supplies, a membership to the Boys and Girls Club, and a free haircut at a local salon.
- In Providence, RI, police made nuisance complaints easier by creating a nuisance complaint form, which the resident completes and gives directly to the Weed & Seed program coordinator, who then contacts the City agency responsible for fixing the problem—whether it be a problem property, litter, or an abandoned vehicle. Eliminating the red tape has allowed faster responses to problems; physical improvements have repaired residents’ feelings of distrust towards the police.
- In Seattle, WA, a forum was created in which police, residents and other neighborhood stakeholders meet regularly to discuss current issues, review crime reports, and coordinate work groups. Keeping the same Community Patrol officers patrolling the same areas has been key. Previously, officers rotated patrols, making it near impossible for residents to get to know a particular officer.
- In St. Paul, MN, beat cops and business owners have come to know each other on a first name basis through the Summer Patrol program in which officers talk with business owners on a regular basis to learn their concerns and tips they might have regarding crime in the neighborhood. Beat officers have also come to know business owners through a beat cell phone the officer carries and which business owners can call without having to go through 911 dispatch.
- In Tacoma, WA, relationships between the police and residents being tense and mistrusting, it was agreed that the only solution was community-based crime-reduction and -prevention programs. The Drug House Elimination Task Force recommended that officers operate out of a substation created from a former drug house in the neighborhood. The success of the DHETF depends on the surveillance that residents and business owners provide. It regularly conducts neighborhood walks, noting problem properties, talking with neighbors, and cleaning up litter along the way.
- In Tempe, AZ, area residents, fearing retribution from local drug dealers, were afraid to report criminal activity. Feeling they had been abandoned by the police, residents were extremely reluctant to work with them. The Beat 16 project was created to enable residents to reclaim their neighborhood. Once the residents felt comfortable with the officers working on the project, information began pouring in about illegal activities taking place in the neighborhood.
- In Toledo, OH, a mechanism was put in place to address issues between the community and police. Known as the Steering Committee, it is made up of social service providers; city agencies; faith-based groups; congressional staff; residents; representatives from the schools, the Lagrange Development Corporation, and City, County, and federal law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies. An off-duty officer responds to individual complaints and works with two entities created by the Weed & Seed/Community Safety Initiative program: Citizens on Patrol and the Crime Task Force. This collaboration is said to have created an atmosphere of safety and trust within the community.
- In Seattle, WA, the Southeast Seattle Community Safety Initiative works with the Columbia City Business Association to collect annual dues from the businesses which are used to pay for various projects such as street cleaning, picking up litter, and cleaning up illegal dumping sites.
- In Albuquerque, NM, a new position, community and prosecutions coordinator (CPC), was created in the district attorney's office, who maintains a database of drug-trafficking cases and notifies neighborhood associations and crime victims of the upcoming cases from their respective neighborhoods. The purpose is enable crime victims to be present, along with representatives of the pertinent neighborhood associations, at the hearings. The CPC also helps neighborhoods set up neighborhood associations, then works closely with them through their crime prevention activities.
- In Boston, MA, gang drug rings being the biggest problem, efforts to disassemble the gangs were put in place (see Gangs).
- In Eugene, OR, a public safety forum that included representatives of the office of the district attorney, the Eugene Police Department, and the existing neighborhood associations developed a "user-friendly" brochure with tips for residents on how to deal with neighborhood drug trafficking.
- In Humboldt, TN , Weed & Seed programs have resulted in improved coordination between local and federal law enforcement agencies and resulted in the arrest of 10 local drug dealers.
- In Little Rock, AR, drug houses were a major problem, so the City created a program titled SAFE (Support, Abatement, Fines and Enforcement) under which police officers, the Office of the City's Attorney, fire Inspectors and code enforcement officers work together to address problem properties. The SAFE team gradually moves from helping landlords to taking legal action against problem tenants and owners.
- In Los Angeles, CA, LAPD detectives, along with the Vice Control Unit, take part in stakeouts targeting illegal drugs sales.
- In Minneapolis, MN,the City’s Police Department sent officers into the streets on foot, bicycles and horseback to patrol the area and make law enforcement more visible. According to MPD representatives, officers on these patrols have been one of the most effective ways of curbing drug dealing. Drug stings are routinely based out of the Franklin Avenue Community Safety Center, located in the heart of the crime-ridden business district, rather than out of the Precinct Center.
- In Phoenix, AZ, community stakeholders constantly identified gang-related crime as one of their major concerns, one of the crimes being drugs; so monthly meetings were instituted that are attended by beat officers, plainclothes Neighborhood Enforcement Team officers—and residents, who are given the opportunity to develop and update their Top Ten List of drug law violators or locations. Together, the Phoenix Police Gang Unit, the Drug Enforcement Bureau and the Violent Street Gang Task Force have targeted drug activity and the identification and shutting down of drug houses; while a federal grant was used to hire a fulltime community prosecutor whose job is to go after drug houses. Fifth and sixth graders participate in DARE (Drug Awareness and Resistance Education). The PPD has also implemented the Drug Education for Youth Program (DEFY). Officers recruit 9-to-12-year-olds for a one-week summer camp, which the officers attend as counselors/mentors. Officers also participate in Block Watch and Drug Free Zone Programs.
- In San Bernadino County, CA, a Drug Court based on the Dade County, FL, model was established as an alternative to jail time. Treatment consists of one-on-one substance abuse counseling, drug test monitoring, educational/therapy groups, relapse prevention and Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. After one year, the individual graduates from the program with clean/sober living skills. Individuals who fail this program may have the charges against them reinstated at the discretion of the courts.
- In Tacoma, WA, a Drug House Elimination Task Force was set up, which is comprised of a group of officers who operate out of a substation (a former drug house) within the community. The task force meets regularly to discuss problem sites, participate in training, share information on best practices from other communities, and brainstorm practical approaches to shutting down specific drug houses, such as working with the property owners, their tenants and local community groups.
- InTempe, AZ, the Tempe Police Department’s Selective Enforcement Unit (SEU) created a drug enforcement effort called Sweep 16. Police Beat 16, for which the project was named, was known as a place where outsiders could come in to purchase heroin safely. Sweep 16 was an undercover buy-and-bust operation that targeted heroin dealing and trafficking. The SEU worked closely with a detective in the Criminal Investigation Division to identify known offenders in the area.
- In Toledo, OH, when a drug house is brought to community members' attention, they draft a letter to the owner of the property asking him or her to meet with a smaller group to discuss problems at the property. At this meeting, the Weed & Seed director, police, and community members present their issues, then offer assistance with eviction. They also train landlords in more effective ways to screen prospective tenants.
- In Albuquerque, NM, street gangs, being responsible for a high degree of drug dealing in the city, constituted a major problem. The trials and sentencing of gang members are now monitored by a community and prosecutions coordinator (CPC), who contacts the neighborhood associations from the communities in which the gang members resided so association (i.e., neighborhood) representatives can be present at the trials and sentencing and thus stay on top of the situation and track the whereabouts of gang members.
- In Boston, MA , a similar effort includes enhanced prosecution of serial offenders, protection for participating witnesses, counseling and intervention with families of at-risk youth, andthe elimination of chronic gang activity locations. Also, loitering, drug dealing and other threatening behaviors were reduced by transforming both residential and commercial properties into valuable space for new home ownership or commercial opportunities. Through Operation Home Front, a police officer and community leader (i.e. block watch captain or clergy member) visit the homes of youth whose conduct shows warning signs of gang involvement and speak frankly with the families. Also, the District Attorney appropriated funds for a Special Prosecutor to work with police and community members on the pursuit of “high impact players” on the violent gang scene. Money was also set aside for a Victim Witness Advocate who works with the Special Prosecutor to provide protection for witnesses that participate in the prosecution.
- In Los Angeles, CA, a Gang Incident Tracking System (GITS) was created so that all gang-related incidents reported by law enforcement officers could be fed into a database. Enabling police to track gang activity by where incidents are happening with the greatest frequency.
- In New York City, NY, Victim Services, Inc. has implemented a program that teaches students, faculty and family members how to cope with or avoid crime activity, including gang violence, they are liable to encounter on almost a daily basis. The program includes an anti-violence curriculum (including gang violence), on-site counseling and support groups, as well as peer mediation/conflict resolution programs.
- In Phoenix, AZ, community stakeholders called upon the Phoenix Police Gang Unit and Drug Enforcement Bureau along with the Violent Street Gang Task Force for intensive involvement. These entities now work together to eliminate gang activity by providing surveillance and arrest of violent gang members and targeting repeat offenders for enhanced prosecution. Third and fourth graders participate in an early intervention program called GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training Program), which aims at nipping the problem in the bud.
- In San Diego, CA, the strategy was to use paid informants to make videotaped drug buys in targeted neighborhoods, which resulted in the eventual arrest of street-level and mid-level members of the Crips, Bloods and another gang. The majority of gang members arrested pled guilty and were sentenced to prison.
- In Wichita, KS, the Wichita/Sedgewick County Neighborhood Initiative is a consortium of grassroots community organizations, public agencies, including law enforcement, City government, the schools, interested nonprofit and for-profit private sector businesses, labor groups, and civic organizations that have pledged to work together to reduce gang-related violence. The initiative brings all of the parties to the table regularly—including grassroots anti-gang groups, police representatives—and gang members themselves.
- In Burlington, VT, the First Response Team, launched in 2001, promises clean-up of graffiti within 72 hours, and organizes weekly volunteer clean-ups, volunteer training, youth learning services, adopt-a-block, mural and other restorative activities, and community service for prosecuted graffiti vandals. In 2004, with an operating budget of just $34,000, the FRT cleaned up more than 900 locations.
- In Caldwell, ID, youth and adult volunteers formed a task force to remove graffiti. It is run by the Idaho Chamber of Commerce in coordination with police and other local agencies, and equipment kept at the Chamber's downtown site. The minute new graffiti is spotted, the task force coordinator is notified. The coordinator then assigns a group to remove the graffiti. This approach has been so successful that Juvenile Court has asked to be able to assign youth to help out with the task force as their court-ordered sentence for non-violent crimes.
- In Charleston, SC, students cleaned up graffiti and other damage around the school to help make the surrounding neighborhood more attractive.
- In Kansas City , KS , a Graffiti Task Force was created by a group of public and private organizations to address and find a solution to the graffiti problem. This coalition worked to change ordinances and expand public and youth education, and coordinated a new abatement effort; and a graffiti hotline set up.
- In Los Angeles, CA, the City created a "Graffiti Free Zone". The first stage involves two undercover officers that patrol problem areas on foot and identify new graffiti. Next, the locations of graffiti are relayed to the Dunbar Economic Development Corporation, which is under contract by the Department of Public Works to remove graffiti. This department provides community groups with trucks and other equipment to remove graffiti. Over time, the crackdowns on graffiti are becoming more strict. To ensure the safety of the graffiti removal team, the undercover cops take the photographs to be used in prosecuting these offenses against private and community property.
- In San Jose , CA , an Anti-Graffiti Program started in 1999 has reduced graffiti by 95 percent. The San Jose Police Department has made arresting graffiti vandals a priority, along with installing surveillance cameras, and targeting repeat offenders. Under the You Tag You Lose program, any vandal caught “tagging” (defacing property with graffiti) loses his or her driver’s license for one year and is required to pay a fine and clean up the graffiti. Some 2,700 neighborhood volunteers have been trained and equipped to keep their communities clear of graffiti.
High Crime Rate
- In Albuquerque, NM, the creation of a community and prosecutions coordinator (CPC) in the district attorney's office has enabled neighborhood associations to to actively participate in the monitoring of criminal activity and enforcement. The CPC maintains a database of court cases and notifies neighborhood associations of upcoming cases in which criminals, from their neighborhoods will be going up for trial or sentencing, and works closely with the associations in their crime prevention activities.
- In Boston, MA, community organizers, leaders and property owners meet monthly with the Police Department to identify what actions need to be taken to deal with identified "hot spots" or problem properties. Gang violence and gang drug rings have been the crimes most often targeted by organizers and police. (see Gangs).
- In Burlington, VT, the Public Safety Project has been established to address both actual and perceived crime. Five Americorps*VISTA volunteers staff the project: Indeed, the key to PSP’s success is the presence of the VISTAs on the streets, where they stay regularly in contact with residents by knocking on doors, visit with crossing guards and business owners, and spend time in parks and local stores, which gives each VISTA volunteer a feel for the neighborhood. In addition, Public Safety Forums were set up to allow residents to help shape a course of action for each problem. PSP staff members also run monthly training programs for community leaders areas such as outreach strategies, flyer and newsletter design, meeting facilitation, conflict mediation, fire safety, self defense and urban gardening.
- In Eugene, OR, the Bethel Public Safety Station was created in 2001 so residents would have a place to report crimes and gather public safety information, contributing to better overall service by police to the community. The Bethel Community Accountability Board is composed of a group of residents who decide sanctions for low- and moderate-risk offenders who have committed crimes in the area.
- In Minneapolis, MN, the police have made themselves more visible in three different ways. The MPD moved its base of operations from the Precinct Center to the Franklin Avenue Community Safety Center, located in the heart of the crime-ridden business district; officers took to the streets on bicycles; and informal police activity of other kinds has grown out of the different aspects of the Safety Center.
- In Phoenix, AZ, a Beat Accountability Program was set up under which the officers walk or patrol the beat take responsibility for problem solving in that neighborhood. Beat officers and plainclothes Neighborhood Enforcement Team officers attend monthly meetings at which residents air concerns ranging from abandoned vehicles and prostitution to drug houses.
- In Seattle, WA, in order to get a better understanding of the crime occurring in Southeast Seattle, project leaders launched a multi-agency crime-tracking system using GIS technology. The project tracks crime activity and trends and the combines this information with land use, code violation, and property owner data on the same map so connections can be studied and opportunities identified.
- In St. Paul, MN, a “Make the Call” Campaign had police officers and members of the Crime & Safety Committee visit businesses and provide them with bright cards (to be hung near cash registers) telling cashiers when to call the police, and what department could be the most helpful in the given circumstances, along with phone numbers. The Summer Patrol Program gives officers an opportunity to visit with business owners on a regular basis, so they can become better informed about owners' concerns and receive their suggestions for dealing with nuisance activities and crime. Beat cops now carry a cell phone whose sos business owners can phone them directly without having to go through 911 emergency dispatch. An officer works with the East Side Neighborhood Development Company to help businesses with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Any business requesting funds from the ESNDC must past the scrutiny of the committee and stick with CPTED principles.
- In Toledo, OH, an officer on foot patrol now walks the Lagrange Street Business District, heightening police presence without advertising that the City is having problems in that district. Also, through the Weed & Seed/Community Safety Initiative program, Citizens on Patrol was created to monitor and report criminal activity in the neighborhood, and a Crime Task Force set up that identified the top ten crime hot spots in the neighborhood and prioritized them for attention.
- In Los Angeles, CA, monthly beautification projects are funded by the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works' Operation Clean Sweep. The Dunbar Economic Development Corporation, LAPD Newton Division, Operation Clean Sweep, and the Trinity Community Block Club coordinate these activities, which include litter removal, recycling, and environmental education.
- In Providence, RI, the Nuisance Abatement Task Force (see Problem Properties) handles a variety of jobs that range from dealing with problem properties to cleaning up garbage and hazardous materials that have been long neglected, after a property was secured by the Task Force. Also, nuisance complaint forms were created by the Providence Police Department which residents can fill out and give to the Weed & Seed program coordinator, who is then responsible for contacting the agency charged with picking up the litter.
- In Seattle, WA, the Southeast Seattle Community Safety Initiative works with the Columbia City Business Association to collect annual dues from the businesses that are used to pay for different projects such as street cleaning, litter, and cleaning up illegal dumping sites.
- In Tacoma, WA, the Drug House Elimination Task Force, composed of police officers who work out of a substation within the community (a former drug house), regularly conduct neighborhood walks to identify problem properties, picking up litter as they go.
- In Huntsville, AL, the Huntsville Housing Authority adopted a trespass resolution in 1994 after residents complained that non-residents were responsible for drug dealing, vandalism and violence. Anyone who has been charged with a crime, threatened violence, damaged housing authority property, or had a confrontation with a Housing Authority officer while on Huntsville Housing Authority property is banned from HHA property for a period of one year. Those who violate this law are subject to up to 180 days in jail.
- In Seattle , WA , police efforts to control loitering having proven ineffective, business owners decided to use music to disperse homeless persons and area youth who were loitering around their businesses, scaring away customers. They installed outdoor speakers that played either country or classical music.
- In Burlington, VT, noise was identified as a major issue in a section of the city in which many college students reside. As a result, a Neighborhood Walk was initiated, in which police officers, residents, University officials, and Public Safety Project AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers (see High Crime Rate) walk the streets between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. asking partiers to quiet down, cleaning up graffiti, and getting to know the neighbors, who then have a harder time refusing to com ply with their requests and become allies in the anti-noise effort.
- In Little Rock, AR, when citizens complained about beggars becoming aggressive or angry when denied a handout, the City set up an undercover police task force to target professional panhandlers and aggressive beggars. The primary target is not the homeless, but professional panhandlers who have a permanent address in Little Rock.
- In New York City, NY, in order to make the subways safer, the New York Transit Authority banned panhandlers from the subways, resulting in a 15 percent decrease in felonies in the subway system.
- In Boston, MA, police gathered information on properties, or “hot spots”, that were the root of much drug and gang activity in the city from local tenants and neighborhood crime watch meetings.
- In Burlington, VT, three working groups were organized, each targeting a specific geographical area. Each group includes a City Code Enforcement Officer, a Public Safety Project VISTA volunteer (see High Crime Rate) assigned to the area, the Police Lieutenant assigned to the neighborhood, and the City's mediation specialist. Problem properties are brought to the working group's attention by complaints from neighbors, a recommendation from a VISTA volunteer, or multiple police calls to the same property. The working group then figures out a response based on the type of problem. In some instances, informal front lawn meetings are created to mediate conflict between neighbors or students from the University of Vermont. In other instances a letter is sent to the landlord explaining the problem his or her property has had on the effect of the community. If this does not work, code enforcement officers will issue fines. In severe cases, the landlord is urged by the Code Enforcement Office to sell the property.
- In Little Rock, AR, a program titled SAFE (Support, Abatement, Fines, and Enforcement) was set up, through which police officers, the City's Attorney's Office, Fire Inspectors, and Code Enforcement Officers address problem properties. The SAFE team gradually moves from helping landlords to taking legal action against problem tenants and owners. As long as the landlord is willing to comply, the team will do all within its power to help, whether it be arranging for emergency repair grants, dumpster funds for demolition projects, or funds for facade improvement of rental properties. One officer, a SAFE team member, teaches classes for landlords and residents about state and local housing regulations.
- In Phoenix, AZ, through a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, the City hired a fulltime community prosecutor to address slum properties. A code inspector aggressively goes after blighted rental properties with the goal of bringing them into compliance.
- In Providence, RI, the Olneyville Weed & Seed program works with the City's multi-agency Nuisance Abatement Task Force to deal with problem properties. This task force is headed by the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office and includes the Providence Police and Fire Departments, the offices of Code Enforcement, Public Works, Building Inspections and Standards, and Weed & Seed. Owners of nuisance properties who fail to comply with the standards brought to their attention by the Task Force may be forced to forfeit their property, which can then be turned over to a nonprofit organization at an affordable cost. The Task Force also works with landlords to take a more active role in maintaining their properties, and trains owners of apartments to screen new tenants in a more effective way.
- In Seattle, WA, the Southeast Seattle Community Safety Initiative, Seattle Police Department, and Homesight (a community development corporation) targeted commercial buildings with high levels of crime. Together, the Southeast Seattle CSI and the SPD addressed the crime aspect while Homesight centered community development projects around these locations. Volunteers were a huge part of this effort, enabling Homesight and the SPD to complete projects that would otherwise have required significant fundraising efforts.
- In Tacoma, WA, the Drug House Elimination Task Force, which includes Tacoma police officers who work out of a substation within the community (a former drug house), targets problem properties, conducts code enforcement inspections and works with the owners to resolve the problems. The DHETF also addresses reoccurring illegal activity by communicating with property owners, their tenants, local community groups, and neighbors.
- In Grand Rapids, MI, several programs have resulted from the work of the Prostitution Round Table (PRT), a committee charged with finding solutions to prostitution. One is the Open Door Program, which provides safe refuge for women from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. and is staffed by women recovering from many of the same issues as the women coming off the street. Another program, the Social Work and Police Partnership (SWAPP), is a partnership between Grand Valley State University’s School of Social Work and the Grand Rapids Police Department. Under this innovative program, social workers ride along with community police providing direct assistance for women trying to make a living as prostitutes, as well as assistance in court, jail and elsewhere. A third program, Start Treatment of Prostitutes (STOP), is a day treatment program spearheaded by Cindy Sikkema, probation officer for the 61st District Court.
- In Minneapolis, MN, prostitution stings are routinely based out of the Franklin Avenue Community Safety Center, located in the heart of the crime-ridden business district, rather than out of the Precinct Center. Also, having officers on bicycle patrol, horseback, and foot patrol, according to MPD representatives, has had a substantial impact on the curbing of prostitution.
- In Phoenix, AZ, through the use of a federal grant, the City employed a fulltime community prosecutor who targets prostitution. A neighborhood impact letter was created to educate judges about the negative impacts of prostitution in the neighborhood. Neighborhood residents are present at sentencing hearings and have requested that the prostitutes be given travel restrictions, prohibiting them from entering the neighborhood during the period of probation.
- In Tacoma, WA, where the chronic public inebriant (CPI) is seen as adding to the criminal activity and deterioration of the area, an Alcohol Impact Area was established with the help of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Merchants within this area are prohibited from selling certain types o f alcohol during certain hours.
- In Providence, RI, the Nuisance Abatement Task Force (see Problem Properties) urges owners of properties where criminal activity is a chronic problem to complete "No Trespassing" forms that allow police to arrest any person not authorized to be on the property.
- In Lehigh County, PA, the Pennsylvania School-Based Probation Program is a supervision model in which the juvenile probation officer works in the schools themselves rather than the traditional courthouse environment. This model allows the probation officer to contact clients more frequently and observe client interactions with peers in a social setting, and to actively enforce conditions of probation such as school attendance.
- In Phoenix, AZ, school personnel monitor school attendance and notify parents if their child has more than three unexcused absences. The parents are required to respond and describe the measures they have taken to make sure their child is attending school. If the child continues to miss school, the school notifies the prosecutor or police department to ask that criminal charges be filed against the parents. The prosecutor has the option of offering a deferred prosecution diversion program, instead of criminal charges.
- In Toledo, OH, funding is provided, through the Weed & Seed grant, for local officers to work exclusively on truancy. These officers receive daily attendance sheets from the Board of Education which they look over, drive through neighborhoods, and visit the homes of truant students. The students are then transported to the Truancy Center, where they receive intensive intervention from Parents Helping Parents and Social Outreach Workers before going back to school.
Unsafe Walk To School
- In Los Angeles, CA, unsafe routes to and from school in a certain area having been identified as a major concern, the Newton Division of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) increased the number of patrols on Central Avenue, where most of the problems occurred, both before and after school.
- In Burlington, VT, unsupervised youth were causing problems throughout the city’s neighborhoods. Youth vandalism was a major problem. The parents were approached and a street resource day created and the streets with lined with recreation opportunities. Both measures met with minimal success, so the Public Safety Project, working together with Club Youth Speak-Out (a local youth initiative), held a Pizza-and-"What I Hate About My Neighborhood" Party. Participation in the event by teenage residents was outstanding and has led to the continual involvement of teens in the effort to protect their community.
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