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2006 MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards
community safety case book
COMMUNITY SAFETY INITIATIVE (CSI)
CSI builds formal, long-term partnerships between community economic development corporations, police departments, and other key stakeholders in troubled neighborhoods. The partners work creates strong, stable and healthy communities by reducing persistent crime, disorder and fear, and implementing economic and community revitalization projects.
We gratefully acknowledge Sibyl Jacobson and April Hawkins of MetLife Foundation for their continued support of the Community Safety Initiative and strong dedication to public safety partnerships around the country. Under their leadership, the MetLife Foundation has made possible a fifth year of this unique awards program as well as the publication of several in-depth papers highlighting themes that cut across many of our past award winners' work. We would like to also thank the police chiefs and community development leaders who participated in the awards process as application readers: Jim Bueermann, Edward F. Davis III, Charles A. Gruber, Bill Jones and Tom Lattimore.
LOCAL INITIATIVES SUPPORT CORPORATION (LISC)
LISC is the nation’s leading community development support organization. Since 1980, it has provided grants, loans and business expertise to community development corporations from one end of the country to the other. In that time, LISC has raised $6.5 billion from the private sector to invest in community development initiatives, helping 2,400 groups develop 161,000 homes and 25 million square feet of commercial and community space. LISC established CSI in 1994 to help neighborhood groups develop alliances with police departments to combat persistent crime and disorder problems. To learn more about LISC, visit www.lisc.org.
MetLife Foundation, established by MetLife in 1976, is a long-time supporter of LISC’s community revitalization programs. In 1994, the Foundation made a $1 million grant to the organization to pilot the CSI. MetLife and the Foundation also have made belowmarket rate loans of over $67.1 million to the organization. MetLife Foundation supports health, education, civic and cultural programs throughout the United States. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.
The authors and publishers are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained herein. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the MetLife Foundation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About the Awards ...................................................1
CASE STUDIES FIRST PLACE WINNERS Urban Edge Public Safety Services Boston, Massachusetts ..........................................3 Barton Street Neighborhood Revitalization Project Pawtucket, Rhode Island ........................................9 SECOND PLACE WINNERS Fergus Street HomeOwnership Project Cincinnati, Ohio ....................................................14 Riviera Beach Weed & Seed Riviera Beach, Florida ...........................................20 THIRD PLACE WINNERS South Bay Community Services Chula Vista, California ..........................................24 Syracuse United Neighbors Crime Committee Syracuse, New York ..............................................28
LISC COMMUNITY SAFETY INITIATIVE & THE COMMUNITY-POLICE PARTNERSHIP AWARDS
etLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) partner to recognize, sustain and share the work of innovative partnerships between community groups and police to promote neighborhood safety and revitalization. Through this awards program, MetLife Foundation and LISC identify and honor collaborations that exhibit tangible accomplishments in their efforts to advance the process, outcome, and/or evaluation of potent police-community collaborations. MetLife Foundation funding for the Community-Police Partnership Awards is another step in the Foundation’s long-standing relationship with LISC and the Community Safety Initiative (CSI). Originally implemented as a two-site demonstration in 1994, the Community Safety Initiative promotes strategic alliances between community developers, law enforcement and other key stakeholders in troubled neighborhoods. The partners’ work creates strong, stable and healthy communities by reducing persistent crime and disorder and spurring economic investment. The Foundation’s generous support has significantly advanced the evolution of comprehensive communitybased public safety endeavors. Together with public funding, the MetLife Foundation’s support has enabled LISC and CSI to design an initiative that simultaneously supports site work, helps create an environment in which that work is encouraged, and celebrates the results of that work. The awards have also provided the CSI staff a means to perform extensive outreach and identify exemplary work by practitioners outside their traditional network. CSI staff take advantage of this expanded network to fulfill the ultimate goal of these awards: sharing information and lessons learned with the broadest possible audience of practitioners (in both the community development and public safety industries), educators, policymakers, funders, and the media.
demonstrates that community-police collaborations remain critical to the revitalization of communities, perhaps even more so as public resources for community development and law enforcement decline. A corollary benefit of the Awards is that they have created a growing network of practitioners who now learn from each other and from CSI sites around the country through publications, webcasts and other events that build on the award themes. This ongoing cross-site learning—and the financial resources that the Awards have leveraged for winning partnerships and similar programs—have underscored the important role that this program and MetLife Foundation play in advancing the community development and criminal justice industries. While the scope of each initiative was quite different, the six award-winning projects all shared a fundamental strategy of partnering community developers with police to achieve both short- and longterm crime reduction and revitalization goals. Each case study in this book highlights the innovative program components and tangible accomplishments of the six award winners.
“The winning partnerships of the 2006 Awards have each demonstrated how public safety can be a catalyst for creating healthy neighborhoods—places where we would all be proud to live, work and do business. CSI applauds the creative, integrated strategies of these winners. We look forward to promoting replication of their approaches in other communities around the country.” Julia Ryan Program Director LISC Community Safety Initiative
THE 2006 AWARDS
The MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnerships Awards continue to yield new benefits to communities across the country each year, most notably by raising awareness about the importance of integrated community safety strategies and by promoting replication of effective approaches. Nearly 200 community organizations and police departments across the country applied for the Awards in 2006, seeking to demonstrate excellence in community safety programming. The high quality of the applicants
APPLICATION AND REVIEW PROCESS
Nearly 200 applicants from around the country participated in the awards process. The primary applicants were member organizations of partnerships that included, but were not limited to, community development corporations and police departments. Other eligible candidates included community-based organizations, community partnerships, Weed & Seed programs, and collaborations comprising more than one of these elements. Interested applicants were invited to complete and submit a brief (3-page) preliminary narrative in response to an initial RFP. The submissions were divided amongst members of an award committee that included CSI staff and consultants, MetLife Foundation staff, Chiefs of Police, and CDC directors. Award committee members reviewed these submissions against 10 criteria (listed below). CSI staff then requested more detailed proposals from 37 outstanding projects. Committee members reviewed these proposals against the same 10 criteria. Each application was read by multiple members. Final decisions were made in Spring 2006. The awardees received unrestricted monetary grants ranging from $10,000-$25,000 and were celebrated at press events in each city.
success in attracting enhanced investment in traditionally underserved neighborhoods. n The public safety and development outcomes noted in the application were achieved because of the capacities and contributions of the collaborators and reflect an intentional integration of the pursuits of neighborhood safety and community/economic development. n The applicant has the capacity and a realistic strategy for the achievement of enumerated future program goals. Teaching Value n The program or project is described in a manner that has instructive value for others in illustrating the core CSI strategy and its potential to revitalize communities and protect them from crime, disorder, and fear. n The program is replicable elsewhere. Relevant information will include a clear articulation of the applicant’s strategy, the principles on which that strategy is based, an assessment of the ingredients of success in the partnership, and a discussion of the transferability of those elements to other places. Replication requires lessons learned about what worked, what did not—and under what conditions.
Relevance n The public safety-community development focus, strategy and accomplishments of this partnership clearly reflect the objectives, strategies and achievements of the Community Safety Initiative. Process n The applicant demonstrates that the key/relevant stakeholders for this project/program were appropriately and actively involved. n The applicant shows that the collaborative effort had an organizational development and/or capacity building benefit for the collaborators. n The applicant illustrates the partnership’s creativity and success in overcoming challenges such as personnel changes and institutional barriers that afflict any sustained and seriously interactive partnership. Achievement n This applicant demonstrates tangible and significant accomplishments in the promotion of public safety and that these accomplishments exceed progress realized in non-target areas. n This applicant demonstrates tangible and significant accomplishments in the area of community and economic development including
“MetLife Foundation is committed to building healthy communities and recognizes that crime is one of the greatest threats to the economic and social health of neighborhoods. We are pleased to join LISC in recognizing the six partnerships for breaking down the silos that can exist between communities and police and achieving tangible improvements in safety, housing and overall quality of life.” Sibyl Jacobson, President and CEO MetLife Foundation
SYRACUSE UNITED NEIGHBORS CRIME COMMITTEE
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN) is a grassroots community organization that has been working to improve the quality of life for residents on the south, southwest and near-west sides of Syracuse, N.Y. for more than 26 years. SUN’s neighborhoods have struggled with crime and violence for much of this time, ranging from property maintenance violations to drug activity to gun violence. In a 1998 study conducted by Syracuse University, five of the ten census tracts rated as “worst” for criminal activity and property conditions throughout the city overlapped with SUN neighborhoods. SUN believes that the key to combating crime is to increase the number of residents committed to improving their neighborhoods, and to connect those residents in productive partnerships with police. Today over 350 families are dues paying members of SUN—one out of every five homeowners in SUN neighborhoods. “Our initial focus was providing affordable housing but the leadership realized very early on that reducing crime was an integral part of the equation. It has become one of the main reasons many residents have gotten involved,” said Phil Prehn, SUN Organizer. The organization is made up of four neighborhood groups, each of which hold a monthly public meeting to deal with issues such as crime, housing, city services and bank lending. After becoming chief of the Syracuse Police Department in May of 2005, Gary Miguel recommitted the department to a prior agreement that places a police officer at each of the groups’ monthly meetings. This has created a forum in which police and residents communicate about crime issues and brainstorm joint solutions. This partnership is enhanced by the SUN Crime Committee, a group of residents, police officers, and representatives from other city and non-profit agencies whose mission is to together develop and implement programs to address crime and violence. As a result of these efforts, crime in SUN’s target neighborhoods is decreasing and residents are actively involved in the crime reduction process with their police partners. became the norm on many blocks. The neighborhoods became known for youth gangs who sold drugs and defended their turf with guns—creating cycles of violence and tragedy that have touched so many families in SUN’s neighborhoods. In 2002, Syracuse had the 23 murders, the highest annual number in recent memory. Most of these murders were gang related and a majority occurred in SUN neighborhoods. The pervasive violence poses a significant challenge for SUN, as many residents are fearful for their safety and have become virtual prisoners in their homes. Retaliation by gang members is a major concern for residents and this fear often serves as a barrier to citizen involvement. Over the years, many residents felt that police were not addressing the problems adequately, and a lack of trust created yet another roadblock to collaborative efforts to improve safety. SUN and the Syracuse Police Department have made notables strides in overcoming these challenges, with limited staff and many volunteers taking on one project at a time to reclaim their neighborhoods.
PROGRAM STRATEGY & ACTIVITY
Coordinated Resource Deployment SUN’s philosophy is that the most effective way to improve neighborhood conditions is to have the tangible support and involvement of residents aligned with the various resources available for community improvement. It was with this in mind that they organized residents into four neighborhood groups and formed the SUN Crime Committee with representatives from each group. The goal of the Crime Committee is to work in partnership with the Syracuse Police Department, the Division of Code Enforcement, the Department of Community Development and other city and non-profit agencies to identify priority problems and coordinate strategic responses to them. It is as a facilitator in this context that SUN has experienced some of its greatest successes in exacting change in its neighborhoods. One example took shape in June of 2005, when of the Midland/Lincoln Avenue residents neighborhood took Deputy Police Chief Frank Fowler on a tour of a series of vacant houses and overgrowth that they called “The Crack Trail.” The area was used to both sell and use crack cocaine, making it both unattractive and unsafe for residents. The Deputy Chief and the residents took the problem to the Crime Committee, where participants analyzed the complex factors involved and crafted solutions. One month
The south, southwest and near-west sides of Syracuse are largely residential neighborhoods where working class families once raised children in largely singleand dual-family homes without significant fear of crime. Over the years, hard times took their toll as poorly maintained properties and vacant buildings
HOT SPOT CARDS: A STRATEGY TO INCREASE CRIME REPORTING
SUN developed its Hot Spot Card program as way for people to get involved in crime reduction without the fear of reprisal from criminals. If residents feel uncomfortable calling 911 when they witness illegal activity, they have the option of filling out a Hot Spot card with key information. They can mail the completed cards to SUN or drop them off at the office. SUN faxes the cards to the Syracuse Police Department’s Special Investigations Division upon receipt, where they are then used to track crime trends and inform resource deployment decisions. At an October 2003 meeting of SUN’s Westside Coalition, assistant U.S. Attorney John Katko raved about the information provided to drug agents through Hot Spot Cards. He noted that SUN’s efforts in this area had played a major role in helping make the case against a major cocaine and heroin ring that operated out of a corner store. SUN also keeps a copy of the cards and reviews them annually with police to determine and verify where “crime hot spots” are in their neighborhoods. These areas are prioritized for intervention by SUN and fellow members of the Crime Committee. later, 35 city workers spent three days cutting down trees and overgrowth, due largely to the priority assigned to the area by the Police Department’s Ordinance Enforcement Division and the Department of Public Works. The Division of Code Enforcement secured the vacant houses and prioritized several for demolition. The trail was effectively eradicated, with ongoing support from the police who continue to patrol the area. SUN is currently working with Jubilee Homes, a non-profit housing developer, and the Department of Community Development to redevelop the properties on and around the old trail to ensure that the improvements are sustainable. Pursuing Stronger Public Safety Policies The Crime Committee has also identified a number of ways that city ordinances and policies could be more effective tools for police and residents seeking to make neighborhoods safe. As a result of the organizing and advocacy efforts of SUN and its partners on the Crime Committee, new Syracuse ordinances include a law to tow junk cars used to stash drugs and guns; a nuisance abatement law for houses with drugs, weapons and prostitution; and a Certificate of Use business license for corner stores and bars. SUN pursued the business license rule when an informal inventory revealed that much of crime in SUN neighborhoods was occurring in and around corner stores. Many owners were not motivated to look for solutions, as the perpetrators comprised their main clientele for products such as food, drinks and drug paraphernalia. Because these business transactions were legal, police had no choice but to limit their interventions to enforcement of illegal activity around the stores which was largely effective only in the short-term. SUN and its police partners researched legislation passed in Rochester to deal with similar issues and recommended a similar model to the Syracuse City Council and Mayor’s office. After a year of education and advocacy, the ordinance passed unanimously. It required corner stores, bars, restaurants and drug stores to maintain an operations certificate and comply with regular inspections of their property and surrounding activity. Inspection violations—including trash and debris code violations, gunshots in the vicinity and loitering—can lead to a store’s certificate being revoked. The store owner is called into court if there are too many violations and can be ordered to
SUN members tour the “Crack Trail” prior to a multi-agency effort yielding a major clean-up of the area.
close for up to one year if problems are not remedied. This gave residents and police a tool by which to hold negligent store owners responsible for the criminal activity that they facilitated. It also provided an incentive for business owners to work with police and community members to change their practices. Encouraging Safe Community Engagement Other SUN efforts have focused on empowering residents to partner with police and take control of the safety of their own neighborhoods. In neighborhoods with severe drug crime issues, SUN convenes private and confidential meetings with concerned area residents and members of the police Neighborhood Anti-Crime Squad (NACS). Neighbors provide detailed information on drug operations and the NACS team does undercover “buy and bust” details in the area. In
not heard. It has also boosted morale among police officers by supporting their enforcement efforts and facilitating more long-term solutions. Securing Vacant Housing SUN works with the Division of Code Enforcement to identify vacant houses in its neighborhoods and to ensure that these houses are secured. Vacant houses are often used to stash drugs and can be a haven for dealers, squatters and graffiti. SUN has negotiated agreements with both the City of Syracuse and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure the windows and doors on the basement and first floor levels of vacant houses in SUN’s neighborhoods using fitted plywood and screws. In addition, SUN helps the Division identify vacant houses that should be demolished. Every other month, the Law Department submits a docket of long-term vacant houses to state court. In these proceedings, Judge James Tormey pressures the owners to either submit a plan for rehabilitation or issues an order of demolition. SUN sends letters on the merits of the various houses and organizes residents to attend hearings of houses that are of special concern.
Increasing Access to Affordable Housing While it is not a development organization itself, SUN works with a number of housing organizations and real estate development partners to ensure that problem properties are transformed into safe and attractive homes, and that families can find stable and secure housing. In a partnership with Home Headquarters (HHQ), the area’s largest SUN Organizer Phil Prehn, Syracuse Police Chief Gary Miguel and partners from the housing non-profit, SUN refers area Department of Public Works have been important leaders in the crime committee residents to homebuyer education classes and its community safety efforts. and helps them fill out applications for home improvement loan programs. It was the summer of 2004, one such meeting with residents SUN’s advocacy that convinced the city to fund a HHQ on Midland Ave. resulted in officers using the unrented counseling program to prevent the loss of current upstairs apartment of a SUN member’s home to homeowners to bank foreclosure. The program observe drug activity around a problem corner store. combines budget counseling with loan renegotiation In less than a month, the police made over 20 arrests to help families emerge from default and remain in and the ownership of the store changed hands when their homes. SUN refers families to this program and code enforcement, at SUN’s behest, cited the store for has two members who serve on the program’s advisory many violations. board. In 2004, SUN successfully campaigned for changes to the administration of the city’s Nuisance Abatement law, allowing neighborhood residents to testify at Nuisance Abatement hearings on potential penalties for drug houses. SUN helped to draft a Neighborhood Impact Statement form that residents surrounding the accused drug property can submit to the City in advance of the hearing. In addition, residents can testify at the hearing itself. These measures have given residents a voice in enforcement that previously was
SUN also works closely with programs that build new homes and manage affordable apartments such as Empire Housing, Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corporation and Jubilee Homes. In addition to promoting the programs offered by these organizations and referring families, SUN works with the groups to draft plans to develop parts of their neighborhoods that have suffered from demolished and deteriorated housing stock. SUN also collaborates with the Department of Community Development to
ensure that problem properties—including those that have gone through foreclosure—are sold at reasonable terms to non-profits that are positioned to renovate them into quality affordable housing. Using Asset Forfeiture to Build Community In similar efforts, SUN has take advantage of federal asset forfeiture laws to see that properties used as drug havens are reclaimed for redevelopment or use by qualified community groups. SUN’s first work in this area started in 1997, when it helped ensure that a former drug house was handed over to a local housing non-profit, Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corporation. The Neighborhood Corporation renovated the house and transferred it to the Southwest Community Center, which now uses it as a respite facility for parents with severely disabled children. The children stay for a weekend at the property, under the watchful eye of trained staff, while their parents get some time for rest and recovery. A second SUN-facilitated transfer involved a corner store that turned out to be at the center of a major drug ring that moved heroin and cocaine from New York City to Syracuse. It was estimated that the operation was netting over $500,000 a week when law enforcement succeeded in breaking it up in May 2003. SUN’s Westside Coalition presented a proposal to the U.S. Attorney’s office to transfer the corner store building to the Syracuse Police Department for use as a community policing substation. In December 2004, then Police Chief Steven Thompson committed to the police department using the store as a substation, which opened following renovations in October 2006. The new substation will enable the police to have more of a presence in the community, as well as provide more community-police interaction.
being reviewed in Nuisance Abatement hearings received the maximum penalty, due largely to SUN’s efforts to organize residents to testify about the detrimental effects of the drug activity in and around the properties. Other landlords were ordered to evict drug dealers and improve property maintenance to deter illegal activity. Other evidence of crime reduction includes the calming of many corner store hot spots— some of which were sites of regular loitering, drug dealing and shots fired—as a result of the ordinance passed as a result of SUN’s efforts and other collaboration with the Syracuse Police Department. While drug activity and violence has not ceased entirely, SUN and its partners agree that they have seen great improvements, and now have strong partnerships in place to respond to new challenges as they arise. The relationship between SUN and the Syracuse Police Department has also formed into a strong and productive collaboration. According to Phil Prehn, “The relationship has always been very cordial but at the current time it is the best it’s ever been. Both sides now see that each has the best interest of the neighborhood at heart.” SUN has found over the years that the Chief is a very important part of the equation as his/her actions resonate quickly down the line. The current Chief is very active and supportive of SUN’s work and this outlook passes quickly to his subordinates. In its day-to-day work, SUN collaborates with individual officers in problem-solving and implementation of joint interventions to reduce crime.
Overcoming the problems of SUN’s neighborhoods has required intense and sustained citizen action, productive alliances with police and innovative corralling of advocacy and economic development resources. By serving as a facilitator and coordinator of many such efforts, SUN has achieved substantial victories in reducing crime and improving neighborhood quality of life. Public Safety Impact From the eradication of the “Crack Trail” to the abatement of problem properties, SUN and its police partners have made great strides in reducing drug crime and other criminal activity in the neighborhood. In 2005 alone, five of 15 nuisance properties
Vacant properties in SUN neighborhoods provided a haven for crime until SUN pursued a variety of abatement and redevelopment projects.
Community Building and Development Impact SUN has also facilitated significant redevelopment of properties in its neighborhoods through partnerships with city agencies and non-profit real estate developers. SUN’s advocacy around vacant and seized buildings has yielded greater affordable housing access in the neighborhood, as well as new community space and facilities for police. SUN is currently working with Home Headquarters to secure financing to rehabilitate 15 owner-occupied houses, remove any lead hazards and provide an energy audit to increase energy efficiency. SUN will work to promote the program and identify current residents that would be eligible to receive funding. HHQ would manage the physical rehabilitation of the houses and payment of contractors. The work that SUN has done over the past three decades, and particularly the work of the SUN Crime Committee, has gone a long way in improving Syracuse neighborhoods. Residents are becoming more involved, homeownership is increasing, vacant properties are decreasing and the value of SUN’s efforts are reaffirmed with each new member that joins the organization.
Syracuse United Neighbors Crime Committee
Syracuse United Neighbors Crime Committee Syracuse Police Department
South, southwest and near-west neighborhoods Syracuse, NY
Syracuse Police Department Syracuse Common Council Public Safety Committee Syracuse Department of Community Development Syracuse Division of Code Enforcement Home Headquarters Jubilee Homes Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corporation
Phil Prehn, Director of Organizing Syracuse United Neighbors 1540 S. Salina Street Syracuse, NY 13205 Phone: 315-476-7475 Email: email@example.com
LO C A L I N I T I AT I V E S S U P P O RT C O R P O R AT I O N
501 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor New York, NY 10018 212-455-9800 www.lisc.org
For more information on the Community Safety Initiative or to receive future mailings regarding the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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