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Putting untapped resources to work for the community: Resident-driven community safety initiatives

by Ulises Silva, Detroit LISC Communications Program Officer

From the Detroit LISC Building Sustainable Communities Symposium held on September 8, 2011.

Community safety in Detroit is an ongoing challenge compounded, in part, by factors beyond residents’ control. Unemployment and the foreclosure crisis have contributed to a rise in property crime. The struggling economy is forcing the city to make difficult choices, including possible cuts to the police and fire departments.

It’s a stark reality, but one that presents an opportunity for residents willing to play a stronger role in helping their community, and willing to put untapped resources to work in a city that needs every resource it can find. Now more than ever, the city needs Detroiters to work with law enforcement agencies through resident-driven community safety initiatives to complement police efforts.

This was the subject of a panel discussion at the Building Sustainable Communities Symposium, hosted by Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), on September 8, 2011. The panel, moderated by Detroit LISC Program Officer Brandon Ivory, was comprised of four community leaders from Chicago and the Metro Detroit region:

  • Jeff Bartow of Chicago’s Southwest Organizing Project
  • Bridget Vance of Focus: HOPE
  • James Albulov of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Phyllis Judkins of the North End Neighborhood Watch

All four panelists discussed community policing alternatives that have thus far proven effective in complementing police efforts and easing the burden on the criminal court system. Read the rest of this entry