Safe Streets unites and inspires neighbors, youth and businesses to build safe, healthy, thriving communities.
Imagine every one of us lives in a safe, thriving neighborhood.
Community leaders issued a call to action in 1989. This launched Safe Streets as a grassroots campaign.
Downtown streets had become open-air drug markets, employees feared walking to their cars, neighborhoods had become havens for drug houses and gang members claimed territory in Tacoma’s Hilltop and Eastside, Parkland, Spanaway, Tillicum, Lake City, and even Puyallup. Drive-by shootings were rampant, reaching more than 350 in 1990. The drive-by shootings were not only inter-gang warfare, but also resulted in the deaths of innocent victims caught in the line of fire. We were literally living in a war zone in parts of our community. Gang graffiti marked territory and sent messages to opposing gangs.
Community leaders issued a call to action in 1989. This launched Safe Streets as a grassroots campaign. From January through June, more than 8,000 community members participated in community forums and summits that concluded with an overwhelming realization: it appeared that the gangs were organized and we, as a community, were not!
We worked to eliminate the glory gang members were receiving through media outlets; launched a major public awareness campaign, mobilized graffiti clean-ups, distributed over 2,000 posters to businesses declaring their dedication to Safe Streets and intolerance for drug dealing, illegal gang activity, and violence; and held an Interfaith Community Summit to partner with more than 200 pastors and ministers.
In the ensuing 25 years, Safe Streets reclaimed neighborhoods, business districts and schools. We have organized and trained a network of 125 Neighborhood Groups in high-risk neighborhoods, involving over 13,500 community leaders and 190,000 residents who work daily to ensure that their neighborhoods and schools are safe. Safe Streets’ Community Mobilizers help these Neighborhood Groups define and address their own needs by utilizing organized block watches, youth leadership teams, graffiti removal teams, safe routes to school, and widespread substance abuse and violence prevention education initiatives.
As the organization grew, new opportunities to help were identified. Safe Streets also organizes: Non-English Speaking Academy, Communities that Care Coalition, Child ID, Multi-Family Housing programs, Youth Leading Change, and ENGAGE.
Our work isn’t done. We are committed to continuing our work, developing leaders for long-term change until every Pierce County neighborhood is safe.
Looking for financial information? Our 990’s can be found here.