Stronger Safer Neighborhoods is a partnership between government, non-profits, neighborhoods, schools, and the business and development community. The focus of the partnership is improving neighborhoods.
So what exactly does that mean?
It means we're involved in a lot of different things.We do everything from neighborhood outreach, to community organizing, to small and large neighborhood events, to public policy, just to name a few.
As part of the Mayor's Office, we work closely with all the City Departments. In the Police Department, crime and neighborhood safety go hand in hand so we keep a close eye on data and criminal activity in the neighborhoods. We like to engage the property owners and tenants in this process of crime prevention and hold meetings to teach propery owners how to use free services provided by LPD to map and watch criminal activity, do background checks on tenants, and to create a friendly relationship with the officers patroling their area. Officers will send letters to landlords when a tenant receives a disorderly house violation.
The Building & Safety Department is key in finding and enforcing properties that fall into disrepair. We monitor different properties month to month with B&SD, and we just implemented a new property maintenance code for Lincoln. There's a theory, called the broken window theory, that generally states a kept property attracts less crime, and one with a "broken window" attracts more crime because people think an untended property is an easier target since the property owner hasn't taken the time to fix it. This theory also applies to even petty crime, such as litter, or graffiti; thus why we like to help organize neighborhood clean ups and work closely with the Health Department on abatements and graffiti removal.
We also participate with the Community Learning Centers (CLCs) at the schools. We meet regularly with the CLC Neighborhood Action Team to devise new strategies to make CLC schools a service hub for residents to use. Schools are a great place the neighborhood can immediately identify with. We also participate in School Neighborhood Advisory Committee (SNAC) at the different schools. We've even had after school clubs through the CLC and AmeriCorps programs.
We work with many of the other departments and we sit on a few boards with them when it comes to problem properties. The Problem Resolution Team (PRT) is Lincoln's task force on dealing with the worst of the worst properties. These properties have violations with multiple departments. Co-Chaired by Captain Davidsaver of the Police Department and Doug Emery of the City Council, all the departments sit down at the table to deal with these properties.
Again, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Below is our general strategy of how to improve the neighborhood. If you ever have a question or need a resource, please feel free to contact us, we'd be more than happy to help. If you have a complaint, please look into using the A.C.T.I.O.N. resource.
Step One: Neighborhood Criminal Profile and Action- Crime mapping and police begin to address illegal activity. Officers are each assigned a focus block to get to know and to work with.
Step Two: Getting to Know Residents/Property Owners - "Knock & Talks" to begin understanding the issues facing the residents and seek residents about a solution.
Step Three: Block Meeting(s) - Opportunity for the neighborhood as a whole to identify problems and solutions. Introduces property owners to housing resources available to them.
Step Four: Property Assessment - Stronger, Safer as gone block by block and rated each and every property in the Core for the past 2 years to track improvements. Taking a walking tour with residents helps get an accurate determination of code violations.
Step Five: Problem Abatement/Resource Allocation - Code enforcement, health violations, graffiti removal and initiating property improvements will begin. Clean up events followed by a BBQ are a great way to engage the neighborhood and get some buy in with the residents. Provides dramatic visual improvement.
Step Six: Tenants/Property Owner Meeting(s) - Determine the response to the revitalization activities and elicit other issues or problems. Offer resources and grant money for small project identified by property owners/residents.
Step Seven: Creating a Neighborhood Group - Improvement can only be sustained by an on-going oversight and enforcement of standards by residents.
How can you benefit from this process?
Access to property improvement resource that are exclusive to target area
Safer, cleaner and physically improved properties and neighborhood
Improved quality of life
Increased community pride
Increased community communication and involvement
Shared/common understanding of goals for the area
Getting to know your neighbors
Reduction of code violations
Direct contact with City staff