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Community Safety

Revitalizing a neighborhood and creating a safer neighborhood almost always go hand in hand. Renewed buildings and streets deter crime, and an atmosphere of security encourages investment and development. 

Efforts to include community safety into a comprehensive community initiative span a broad range of projects, including targeted property acquisitions informed by community and police identification of crime hot spots, offender reentry initiatives to short-circuit the cycle of recidivism, use of trusted community organizations to enlist at-risk youth in crime prevention efforts, park renovations and programming to create vibrant public spaces.  Critical to success is partnerships’ ability to engage a range of law enforcement, city and nonprofit agencies. 


Read more on the Institute's coverage of Community Safety issues and ideas in the In The News section of this website.

Practioner Resources

"Community Developer Helps Police and Neighbors Find Common Cause"

Working closely with the police isn't second nature for most community organizers. In this article from the Huffington Post, Nancy Howard describes why community developers should want "to change the way police and neighbors work together and build trust between people who generally look sideways at each other, all in the service of making communities better."

"It Takes a Village: Communities Tackle Crime"

This article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston describes how New Haven’s Neighborhood Housing Services and local police have worked together through the SafeGrowth program by LISC's Community Safety Intiative to reduce and prevent crime.

Community Safety Initiative

The community safety program of LISC, CSI helps to establish problem-solving partnerships among law enforcement, community developers, residents, business owners and members of other neighborhood institutions. The CSI website includes information targeted at a wide variety of local partners, advice and examples of a variety of strategies, and information on crime and violence topics from domestic violence to youth safety.

“Developer + Police = Results”

This LISC safety tool from 2010 diagrams how community developers and police personnel can collaborate on development projects in mutually beneficial ways. The tool lays out six phases of partnering on development projects, from the early planning stages through project completion and management.

“Understanding Crime Displacement: A Guide for Community Development Practitioners”

The idea that crime will automatically relocate in the aftermath of community development initiatives is perhaps a commonly held beliefs, but it isn't often true. Published by LISC in 2009, this community safety paper helps community developers and their police partners assess and mitigate displacement risks in project planning and implementation.

“Beyond Community Policing: Engaging Prosecutors in Community Safety Partnerships”

Prosecutors play an important role in community safety, and this 2009 community safety paper highlights several best practices for including local prosecutors in the kind of partnerships championed by LISC's Community Safety Initiative (CSI) and the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards.

“SafeGrowth: Creating Safety & Sustainability through Community Building and Urban Design”

Designed by SafeGrowth and LISC’s Community Safety Initiative (CSI), this 2008 comprehensive program model for professionals in community development, urban planning and design, law enforcement and crime prevention explores future planning for comprehensive community safety programs. It describes first and second generation principles of the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and outlines how they should be considered as part of a six-phase planning and problem-solving process to improve public safety.

"Leveraging Code Enforcement for Neighborhood Safety: Insights for Community Developers"

This 2007 community safety paper highlights how partnering with law enforcement and code enforcement agencies can help community developers rid an area of problem properties, reduce magnets for crime, and establish neighborhoods as safe and healthy places to invest. It also explores how to structure these partnerships and maintain them over time.

“Catalyst for Collaboration: Roles of a Safety Coordinator”

Drawing from the strategies of successful community-safety partnerships, this 2007 paper helps safety coordinators engage community members and law enforcement, build successful relationships between the two and move forward with a work plan that improves safety in a neighborhood. It outlines the role and strategy of a safety coordinator, how to structure the position and how to find the appropriate person to fill it. 

LISC Experts Online: "Organizing for safety"

Organizing residents and business owners so they can work with police to address persistent crime problems is essential to making neighborhoods safe--but it can also be difficult. Hear community development leaders from Massachusetts’ Community Works, Chelsea Neighborhood Developers and VVBOOM in San Francisco, talk about tackling these challenges to achieve successful results in this 2010 webinar. View the recordingPresentation Packet

Community Safety by Process

The Institute's basic model for building a successful comprehensive community initiative has six… Continue

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