Strategy: Special Community Events To Promote Prevention
Strategy Special community events focus attention on crime prevention and help galvanize support for preventing crime, violence, and drug . . .
Special community events focus attention on crime prevention and help galvanize support for preventing crime, violence, and drug abuse and for improving the quality of life in the community.
Crime Problem Addressed
Some neighborhoods and municipalities use this strategy to focus attention on preventing the significant crime-related problems of the community, including drug trafficking or violence.
The key components of this strategy include the following:
- identification by residents of the central issue of concern, the purpose for the event
- a community group, coalition, or collection of residents to organize the rally, march, crime prevention fair, neighborhood party, vigil, or concert
- cooperation from local agencies and the police in providing information, services and facilities to support the event
- publicity to help assure maximum community participation and reinforce community standards against crime.
Individual residents, crime prevention organizations, parent groups, civic clubs, religious congregations, and business owners can all be enlisted as partners in planning such events and implementing actions to address the problems which brought the community together. Police departments can provide educational materials and visible support for community members by their participation in the event; they can also help publicize the event throughout the community.
Community events are most successful when the organizing groups include a broad representation of community members working together to address the community's problems and support the community's assets. Successful planning requires sufficient planning time and a media strategy.
Signs of Success
In Newport News, Virginia, Citizens Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods from Crime sponsored an antiviolence rally at a shopping mall. The mall, the police department, the Girl Scouts, the fire department, the Mayor's Youth Commission, and many others supported this event. Saying "enough is enough" to crime, citizens organized a large, public rally in support of the police with the theme of "Back the Blue." The event also promoted formation of Neighborhood Watch programs. The whole community took back the streets of their neighborhood, showing community support for working with the police in making Newport News a safer place to live, to work, and to enjoy. The event inspired many, involved thousands of residents, and was well covered by the media.
Applying the Strategy
In Philadelphia, a "Weed and Seed" group banded together in a high-energy anti-drug march. Participants included 3,000 people from four schools, the Mayor, U.S. Department of Justice officials, educators, civic and political leaders, and the police. Marchers passing through a neighborhood ravaged by drug dealing filled six blocks as they chanted "No" to drugs.