This month we celebrate 27 years of mobilizing residents and youth to reclaim neighborhoods, parks and school areas from crime and violence. The Safe Streets strategy of community engagement has proven effective. By partnering with law enforcement and key city and county services we can show powerful results like a 20% reduction in crime over the past five years.
27 years ago neither the police nor community leaders had an effective process to address street level violence and drug trafficking. Today, in part, because of our efforts we have a great community engagement process that invites residents and youth to organize, build cohesive sustainable groups, and learn how to lead neighborhood based change.
The past 27 years have been built on community commitment fueled by resident and youth pride. Knowing that we have such a strong foundation with deep roots in the community keeps my hope alive that we can achieve our vision – that every neighborhood can be safe for children, families and business owners.
We have reached a new point in our collective development – one where we have the opportunity to lay another cornerstone in our foundation. We are no longer “just a crime fighting entity”. We have now grown into a network of 13,000+ residents and 250 youth who are inspired to make both physical and social improvements around their schools, in neighborhoods and in business areas.
So, to support our volunteers we have launched the Safe Streets Academy where neighbors and youth can come together to access training and technical assistance for prevention and community improvement projects. In our new partnership with University of Washington Tacoma, Mike Canfield LLC and the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department we are providing expertise to conduct geographical and participatory mapping for organized neighborhoods, skill development in leadership so groups stay strong and learn how to enact change projects and education about the Whole Child Initiative that is dedicated to building strong social emotional skills for youth.
We are offering two Safe Streets Academies per year to build on our new foundation and help neighbors undertake community renewal and improvement projects, large and small. The result of the hard word of these leaders will be not only increased community pride but also an improved quality of life for so many. If you want to be a part of this new phase reserve April 23, 2016, Saturday. Watch the website to make sure you get registered early.
Thank you all for your tremendous dedication and commitment to making Pierce County a really great place to live, work, learn and play!