June 2020 – Father’s Day Weekend, 104 people were shot in Chicago and 14 died. Five victims were children! Let’s discuss solutions! What’s happening in your city??
The purpose of training Neighborhood Safety Experts (NSE) is to empower neighbors and create a healthy balance between citizens and police.
NSE helps neighbors PREVENT crime, gangs, sex, juvenile bad behavior, and drug/human trafficking and violence. They bring neighbors together to help each other as they take responsibility for social change and identify neighborhood leaders. (Every block has a potential leader who wants children to stay safe.)
Neighborhood empowerment is the key!
NSE must look like and speak the language of the neighborhoods. When neighbors have information, support, and connect with each other, they build trust, reduce anxiety and fear. To make neighborhoods safe, youth and designated neighbors go door to door to ask questions and listen. (Booklets available, “My First Steps to a Safe Neighborhood” & “Adopt-A-Block Guide.) When neighbors work together, they can choose a leader, hold meetings, have a clean-up day, help seniors, plan a Block Party, social event, or activities for youth. If neighbors have challenging problems such as drug dealers or prostitutes, they can; take pictures, write down descriptions, license numbers, times, and dates. NSE is the go-between for citizens and police. They turn over the information to the police to make arrests. When illegal activities are NOT tolerated, problems will disappear.
City leaders can launch a campaign to get the whole community involved.
(Generally, half of all crimes are committed by neighborhood kids.) The best protection and prevention against crime…involve neighbors! City leaders can hire and train existing responsible community members to work with city leaders to help bring the community together. NSE can be trained by a variety of existing community organizations on how to run meetings, handle anger, problem-solving, etc. NSE works with police but NOT for the police department! They need to be independent to address social issues. (National stat: 2.4 police for every 1000 citizens.) Support for neighbors can create a healthy balance between neighbors and police. When neighbors work together, they decide what will and will NOT be tolerated in their neighborhood. Cities will save money, families receive vital support, and everyone will live in safer, healthier cities.
BENEFITS: Neighborhood Safety Experts should look like and speak the language of the community to build trust and empower neighbors!
- When neighbors know and trust each other, they take charge of the kids on the block and put a check and balance on negative juvenile behavior.
- Relationships can be strengthened between racially diverse neighbors.
- Neighbors can grow a community garden to help educate and improve health.
- Seniors can be encouraged to get involved to coach sports, teach, babysit, or help with homework.
- Involvement reduces social isolation that can lead to domestic violence, gangs, drug dealers, violence, and homelessness.
- Neighbors can stop juvenile bullying at an early age.
- Improving communication helps neighbors become informed and less vulnerable.
- Strong family and neighborhood support help prevent drug abuse and homelessness.
- Community support for youth offers important options. Youth are less likely to become traffickers, drug dealers, gang members or engage in violence.
- Crime, violence, and shootings create distrust, anxiety, and anger, which often lead to social isolation with people experiencing mental and physical health problems.
- A safe neighborhood becomes a healthy place to live where everyone benefits.
- When people know and trust a Neighborhood Safety Expert, they share information they would NOT tell police such as…identify drug dealers, child abusers, neglect of kids, stash of illegal guns, or other illegal activities.
- Neighbors can be encouraged to work with newly released inmates to help them assimilate into the neighborhood, thus reducing fear of the unknown.
- Involved neighbors can reduce the high cost of juvenile delinquency, graffiti, arson, smash and grab juveniles, homelessness, etc. (Estimated cost of Child Abuse and Neglect: $220 million EVERYDAY – Source: CDC)
- Involved neighbors have the power to reduce the need for additional police.
- Citizens will feel safer and less likely to buy guns for protection.
- When NSE creates a network of neighborhood leaders, police can send out criminal descriptions to leaders who can contact all neighbors. Swift communication can catch criminals quicker.
- Nextdoor.com gives residents a digital network to share information about all neighborhood activities including criminal activities.
- Neighborhood involvement creates new leaders at the grassroots who can evolve into new leadership on community boards, city committees, and in politics.
- When we strengthen families and neighborhoods, we are empowering citizens to become more independent and self-reliant thus moving away from socialism and governmental control over their lives.
- Support and education help citizens strengthen American democracy as they become involved, informed, and responsible for family and neighborhood safety.
City leaders can broaden the discussion beyond guns and police for safer cities!
Neighborhood Safety Experts have proven to be successful! Safe Kids Now can help leaders see the importance of training centers for Neighborhood Safety Experts and how they can help end violence, anger toward police and create peaceful cities. Guidelines can be provided on NSE training and surveys, booklets, and community education can create positive change.
Democracy requires Americans to do more than vote! We need citizens to be involved in their local communities to improve the health and safety for all.
Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Safe Kids Now Family Support Network