Neighbourhood Watch: Making Your High Crime Neighborhoods Safer
For city councils, citizens, and criminals, it is difficult to break established high-crime neighborhoods from the patterns of crime formed over time. It takes a village to reduce the crime patterns, and the village consists of city councils, citizens, and the entire neighborhood, all working together to drive criminals from a historically high-crime area. Fortunately, with the help of the village, it is possible to turn a slum into a gem.
In conjunction with citizens of the entire city and neighbors within the high-crime neighborhood, the city council can offer high-crime neighborhoods the building blocks needed to turn the crime rate around. Criminals are drawn to areas where rent is low, police enforcements are lax, and neighbors do not interfere with criminal activities. Therefore, taking the following actions can help decrease crime:
- Offer tax breaks or housing assistance in high-crime areas. City-controlled housing assistance can help match low-income but low-crime individuals with a neighborhood in need of additional neighbors for the neighborhood watch. Additional assistance initiatives for housing renovations and repairs can also help send the message to criminals that the neighborhood is beginning to watch and report criminal activity.
- Repair general areas of disrepair. Fixing broken streetlights, maintaining sidewalks, and freshening city parks can convey to criminals that the area is beginning to become a citizen enforced area.
- Increase law enforcement. Just a few extra police surveillance drive-throughs can decrease crime rates.
Citizens of the entire city will be interested in driving criminals away. You can enlist free citizen help in cleaning up the high-crime area. Sprucing up the following can help the neighborhood feel and become safer:
- Public buildings and/or bank-owned buildings: Citizens invited to paint buildings/houses and clean up lots either publically owned or owned by a bank will assist in deterring crime.
- City parks: Offering a clean-up/painting/planting effort in a city park will also send a crime-free neighborhood message.
- After school programs: Enlisting citizen volunteers to either spruce up after school programs or mentor at after school programs can keep children safe.
Finally, the most important participants needed in reducing neighborhood crime are the neighbors. Encourage neighbors to do the following to reduce crime:
- Spruce up their properties: Offer financial assistance or public volunteers if the neighbors or landlords cannot afford maintenance or do not have the manpower to complete renovations.
- Report crime: Reporting crime is the only way criminals can be caught and punished. Offering police protection/increasing police rounds can help neighbors feel safe in reporting crime.
- Form a neighborhood watch: A collection of neighbors brave enough to form a neighborhood watch will inform criminals that crime will no longer be permitted in the neighborhood.
Neighborhood safety in high-crime neighborhoods can be difficult to enforce. It takes a number of city council members, citizens, and neighbors to clean up a neighborhood and enforce a new neighborhood of low-crime and regulation, but safety, enforced by numbers, is possible in you high-crime neighborhood.