[vc_row][vc_column][trx_title style=”underline”]Objective B6: Neighborhood Safety Initiative[/trx_title][vc_tta_pageable no_fill_content_area=”1″ active_section=”1″ pagination_color=”black”][vc_tta_section title=”Section 1″ tab_id=”1571871988885-d5141fd4-dd8c”][vc_column_text]Citizens are key players in community safety, especially when they are organized into groups targeting unwanted activity in their neighborhoods. Memphis and Shelby County are fortunate to have a deep vein of neighborhood organizations focused on improving their respective communities. There are numerous groups, among them, neighborhood watch groups which arealigned with police precincts and which enable citizens to report unusual or potentially criminal activity in their communities to the authorities. Law enforcement also educates members of neighborhood watch organizations on how to improve safety in their homes and communities. Additionally, across Shelby County, police joint agencies (PJAs) are partnership organizations between citizens and government and consist of representatives from various neighborhood groups, meeting monthly to address specific concerns relating to health code, housing code, and/or criminal activity concerns with both law enforcement and code officials. Underlying the existence of these organizations is a recognition that citizens living within a community are best situated to observe problem properties and problem people and bring them to the attention of government. Addressing these concerns is a central tenet of local government and part of the taxpaying contract with citizens. Problem properties are defined as those in violation of code requirements and/or properties that attract criminal activity. Problem people are those individuals who engage in habitual anti-social behaviors which may be criminal in nature. These individuals can wreak havoc on the greater peace of the community. Many of these problem people are well known to law enforcement through prior contact or other means, but citizen complaints form a powerful tool in helping to restore order to a community. In a Memphis Police Department neighborhood survey conducted in 2014 in the areas of Frayser and South Memphis, the largest number of citizens surveyed said they would be interested in a neighborhood watch program in their areas.7 This is great news because studies show that[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Section 2″ tab_id=”1571871988886-713c73e7-b682″][vc_column_text]neighborhoods with organized watch or other community groups experience lower crime rates than those without such organizations. A 2008 meta-analysis of studies on the impact of neighborhood watch organizations found there was an overall reduction in crime in those areas.8 Recognizing that neighborhoods are different, have different safety concerns and priorities, different geographic considerations, etc., these organizations must be tailored to and cognizant of these divergent needs. Of utmost importance is that these groups evolve organically and truly reflect the needs and desires of the citizens residing within their borders. The best path to that result is for these groups to be citizen-led, citizen-focused and provided with appropriate support and response by authorities, be it law or code enforcement, or the courts or prosecutors. The DA, Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, City of Memphis, Shelby County, and the Crime Commission will team up with these neighborhood groups to expand engagement in crime prevention and maximize government responsiveness and accountability for
action. The initiative will incorporate elements of models, including “police joint agencies” and “neighborhood watch,” among others. The NSI will be piloted first in two police precincts, then expanded to all nine police precincts upon a preliminary evaluation indicating its effectiveness.

Key Objective Outcomes:

  1. Ensure that all neighborhoods in NSI geographic areas have effective neighborhood watch groups.
  2. Obtain a solve rate of at least 80% for citizen complaints brought through the NSI program by 2021.
  3. Reach an average turnaround time for resolving citizen complaints from NSI areas of no more than 30 days.

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