Bill Gibbons MSCC President
Community Engagement Critical to Reducing Crime

One of the goals of the Safe Community plan is to strengthen community engagement in crime prevention and reduction efforts. That goal can be achieved in many different ways.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland stresses the need for more responsible adults to step forward as mentors for young people who just need a little help to ensure they are on the right path. Think what it would mean to our community if, say, ten thousand responsible adults stepped forward as mentors. It would change our community for the better for many years to come.

Every citizen can get involved at the neighborhood level through leadership of, or participation in, a neighborhood watch group. The expansion of neighborhood watch is a key objective under the Safe Community plan’s goal to strengthen community engagement. With the help of a grant from the Assisi Foundation, the Crime Commission has brought on Artemis “Peppa” Williams and his team to help grow the number of neighborhood watch groups, especially in the Old Allen and Tillman MPD precincts. We know that some citizens may be reluctant to openly be the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. That’s why CrimeStoppers is such a vital partner in the effort to increase community engagement.

It’s an easy way for citizens to anonymously provide important information to law enforcement by calling 528-CASH if they feel that is the best way to help.

Finally, citizens can be advocates for needed changes and improvements in our efforts to prevent and reduce crime. Using parts of the Safe Community plan as examples, citizens can contact their city and county officials and urge more funding to increase the number of law enforcement officers. They can contact their state officials and urge more funding for effective re-entry programs to help move ex-offenders in the right direction.

Every citizen can do something to help make our community and its neighborhoods safer. We cannot sit back and expect law enforcement and prosecutors to do it by themselves.

Bill Gibbons, President
Memphis Shelby Crime Commission

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