It is safe to say that many of us believe that we are fairly familiar with the many techniques or frames of thought for crime prevention. Things like locking our doors and windows, turning lights on at night or installing motion sensing security lights. Maybe even going a step further and installing a security alarm or video surveillance system. While these and many other action plans have been taught to us for the better part of our lives, what do they do to prevent crime? Too many peoples surprise, very little.
Protecting yourself or property from criminal activity is vastly different than preventing criminal activity. Putting together plans of actions to protect yourselves from crime is nothing more than installing obstacles to deter a criminal act already in progress. The criminal element is already in the neighborhood so though your actions may protect you or your property from being the victim of a crime, chances are one of your neighbors will be that victim moments later.
The impact to a community that continues to battle criminal activity overall is the same. Whether you or your neighbor is the victim of the crime. The heighten since of fear, higher insurance premiums for the area, difficulty in attracting business investments, lower property values and ultimately a driving force that leads communities feeling a sense of hopelessness and potentially community abandonment, can all be the results of reoccurring criminal activity in that community.
The key to crime prevention is community activism. I’m not talking about organized marches for peace or protests, though these have merit when appropriate. What I am referring to is an engaged community. A community that is actively coming together to create a vision for their community and then working together to create that vision. This is the true meaning of the “the power of the people”. It’s not referring to your elected government representatives, its referring to us, the citizens. If we want real change in our community this doesn’t get done by waiting on your local government. If we want change, we have to change it.
There are many articles and research papers out there that provide many different observations and statistic but if we take the time to think about it using good old fashion common sense it’s easy to see that a community that works and plays together actively and that supports each other willingly will be a strong and thriving community.
Take a few minutes and check out the site below. Its gives 16 examples of communities around the world working together and making a huge difference. It will also show that changing a community is not a single mammoth project. It’s a series of small changes that can have mammoth results.
The Jackson Park Association along with the Jackson Park Safety Patrol have been working hard to create all new and improved community activities and neighborhood culture. The revamping of Manitoba Park, the public safety initiative on 43rd street, expanding the 4th of July Parade, 50’s Movie Night and Car show, Night Time Trick or Treating and several other events. All of these are efforts to bring the community together not only for entertainment but to build a sense of community. Better yet a village of people. A village of people who talk to each other in person, slowing things down and enjoying your surroundings such as the park, the river trails or a nice walk through the neighborhood.
All we need to do is create a shared vision of the community that we want to live in and then actually get out there and make it happen. Sharing ideas on social media is great but without execution, without help from the community we will not become the community we envision. If we are willing to make this commitment, if we are willing to pledge our time and talents we can and will make that vision a reality.
With these efforts we will produce a highly active and thriving community. A community who knows and appreciates their neighbors and is completely invested in the continued growth of this community. It is through these efforts and growth of the community that we will make a huge difference in the quality of life as well as overall crime prevention and reduction.
The information is out there people. The proof and results of these efforts can be found. So what’s the only things preventing us from experiencing the same results…..Desire and execution?
So I ask, what do you want for your community? Are there things that you can do to help build this vision? Picking up trash, planting gardens, helping contribute to the community events whether it be in donations or utilizing talents. Taking time in getting to know your neighbors and helping them out. Maybe contributing to our parks or voicing our needs to our public officials with the strength of a united community to help us facilitate the things that we need to meet our community goals.
Can you find 10 minutes, 30 minutes, maybe an hour a week or every two weeks to focus your attention on your community? There is no magic bullet my friends, no one person who is going to solve our nations or communities problems. We rebuild a nation by rebuilding our communities.