During the Safe Streets Symposium, participants split into different groups to brainstorm on ways of combating crime. The following topics are the main topics identified during the break-out sessions. Please take a moment and share your thoughts, and suggestions on the ideas generated during the symposium.
Ideas Identified During Safe Streets Symposium
The group felt that, in some areas, the police do not show much of a presence because the area is below the threshold that required increased police presence. The group indicated that they think police should come into these neighborhoods and engage the young individuals who stood on the sides of the corners.
Provide programs that are physically closer to the communities for children and teenagers to participate in. The group indicated that bridging the gap between entities like the schools and parks and recreation would facilitate sharing of locations and the support of programs.
One of the most important ways identified of reducing gun violence was through programs such as Operation Ceasefire. Participants stressed the ideas of community outreach and the increasing of opportunities that allow for a person's re-entry into society after commission of a crime as well.
Unity of purpose and commitment were the main focus of discussion. Bringing together different entities around a common goal and continue pursuing the goal of making streets safer long after the symposium is over is necessary for the crime situation in the community to improve.
In order to get involved and making a difference, residents need to learn what existing resources are available so the community can utilize them.
Message need to be sent out to parents that Safe Streets start at home with them. There is a need to get young people off of technology and more engaged in the community. Kids also need to be involved in the neighborhood watches and talk about it on their Facebook page and at school.
There needs to be greater incentive for youth to participate in a community project and getting actively engaged. Starting with something as small as a road side clean up can lead youth to a better understanding about being a part of the community, the importance of getting to know your neighbors and that being a part of a community is something to be proud of. Additionally, encourage college-aged students to volunteer with these programs during times when children are out of school. Another strategy is for local universities to get more involved in the community by offering more seminars to the youth, and also let they know that they don't have to fall into the same pattern as the rest of their family and that college is something that is a possibility to every single one of them.
The first thing identified was post-incarceration transitional care. Offenders leaving prisons have few viable longer-term facilities. Former offenders often have a syndrome of needs which often go unmet. Certain (e.g., statutory) limitations hobble service provision. One speaker pointed to the tension between what is good for offenders and what is permissible by law. Another element identified by participants was the need for a more complete and capable mental health services network. Finally, there is a need for authentic mentorship and emotional support.
We need to have regional labs to do more lab work in order to process the criminals and get them off the streets.
There is a need to focus on helping children control their anger by implementing family strengthening classes, along with work closely with the SPARKS Program to help children deal with the stress and trauma they may be going through. (SPARKS - structured psychotherapy for adolescence responding to chronic stress).
There is a need for more vocational schools. This would be beneficial to students that either don't want to or cannot go to college. This would give them a skill set to be a productive member of the community. It can also help the students that are not so good in the classroom, but are excellent when being able to have something hands on to work with.