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Organize a Town Hall Meeting

Local officials can use town hall meetings as an opportunity to discuss plans for Crime Prevention Month. Law enforcement can use them to get feedback on recent community policing initiatives. Neighborhood Watch groups can inform the community of their activities and recruit additional volunteers. The town hall meeting can help citizens and leadership join in efforts that improve their community.

The Guest Speaker

Make sure you have a guest speaker who can speak with authority about the issue at hand. Most likely, this person is going to be a local crime prevention officer, other representative of law enforcement, or a professional trainer.

The Meeting Site

The meeting site can be a classroom, community center, church basement, the meeting room of a senior citizens’ center, or any other available space. You may need to secure the space on short notice, so be prepared to call around.


Publicity

Deliver and post fliers in all sites where people meet or gather in the affected area—a house of worship bulletin board, for example. Ask merchants if you can put up notices in store windows. See if you can get publicity in newsletters.

The Meeting

The leader of the meeting should let the citizens and guest experts do the talking, stepping in now and then only to ensure order. It is important that everyone be heard and that all opinions be considered valid. Some of the topics raised may lend themselves to established crime prevention techniques, such as Neighborhood Watch or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Others may require more imaginative approaches, such as mediation programs, mentoring programs, or graffiti paint-out programs.

Follow Up

The meeting should not end before at least one committee is established to follow through on the meeting’s conclusions and recommendations and report back to another town hall meeting, which should be scheduled before the meeting adjourns. That way, people are accountable and progress and obstacles can be ascertained.

Good luck with your town hall meeting!

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