Sunday, August 15, 2010

Effectiveness of block clubs against crime...

From Mick Dumke of the Chicago News Cooperative:
Even before the violence flared around Chicago this summer — long before someone was shot to death at the end of their block in July — Robert Brown and Michelle Lee-Sebastian saw signs of trouble.

Concerned about the young men loitering at the end of their street, Mr. Brown and Ms. Lee-Sebastian, next-door neighbors, decided to take the advice of the police and organize a block club with other residents of the 8100 and 8200 blocks of South Winchester Avenue.

The idea was that through phone trees, monthly meetings and heightened visibility, residents could keep one another abreast of what was happening and send a message to gangs and drug dealers that they were not about to hand over their block.
But Mr. Brown and Ms. Lee-Sebastian said they could not fight gangs or keep the neighborhood together on their own. And they said they were left wondering when, or if, the city would give them the backup they need: repairs to streets and curbs, better oversight of empty buildings and, especially, a greater police presence.

“We’ve taken care of our part of the bargain. And in return we keep hearing, ‘We don’t have the resources,’ ” said Mr. Brown, 50, a corrections officer at the Cook County jail who has lived on South Winchester for 13 years. “I realize the police are stretched to the limit, but there’s got to be a better way.”
Since Mr. Brown and Ms. Lee-Sebastian formed their block club two years ago, about 10 other residents have been active members. They started by talking with the police about the loiterers at the end of the street and by making a point of walking regularly past the problem corner. They cut the grass outside vacant houses and trimmed the shrubs.
This article is worth your time.

Is anyone reading this blog involved with a block club? Are they having issues with regards to attracting attention from either their Aldermen or the city bureaucracy? 

1 comment:

  1. The effectiveness of block clubs in Chatham has been diminished to nothing more tham ceremonial organizations. Most organizations only exist to get a permit to have a "block club party". The others do not have any support any more because of the division that is going on between competing so called "comunity organizations".

    Long standing block clubs are out here on their own and are fihting battles all alone.


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