Sunday, April 18, 2010

Center Street- Brainstorming

Center Street
The Bic pen cartography of Tea Krulos

As introduced in the next post, "Mr. Smith" is someone who has compiled some ideas about organizing a RLSH/ concerned citizens patrol. I think he has a lot of good ideas and so I wanted to share the e-mail he sent to The Watchman and myself in it's entirety.
Original message follows:

Ideas for a Center Street patrol


1. Measurably reduce crime by patrolling in a focused area at peak times and locations for criminal activity. (E.g. Center St. weekends 9pm-3am)
2. Build and sustain community cohesion through patrol groups and others, like block watches, bike cops and police squads active at patrol times.
3. ????


* determine geographic and time limits for patrol/watch area
- what are peak crime times and locations. what times are people available to patrol, and how many people?
- based on crime heat maps from last year (I sent you access to these) the ideal range is probably Wright to Locust + alleys
- Meinecke and North is separate problem area. Burleigh-Fratney is another.
- what are peak times for robberies? (heat map: 2AM+ Center-Clarke-Booth-Bremen and Pierce-Burleigh. 9PM-2AM to south)
- what areas can be covered with people available?
- base patrol areas on clustering/frequency of prior year crime activity? (We have this data but can do closer analysis)
- benchmark recent summer month muggings to assess this year--is crime up or down?

* how can other people help?
- publicize the patrols
- help coordinate patrols and volunteers
- join patrol and watch units
- building owners and residents provide lookout points and information about suspicious activity, etc.
- trend analysis, data sharing

* publicity/recruiting
- fliers, cards -- distribute in bars
- use a central email and phone number for all contacts.
- use google voice phone # to receive inquiries and tips in voicemail box that emails a transcription automatically to call handlers
- create a clear and simple protocol for patrol members. What to do if you see X. When to call bike cop mobile number or 911 or non-emergency line.

Likely Pitfalls to Anticipate and try to Head Off

* Lack of continuous support from changing group of volunteers
* Unreliable volunteers
* Burnout of reliable highly involved people

UPDATE: "Mr. Smith" also forwarded on this article: "6 elements of successful action groups" by Sally Campbell. Again, very good, helpful ideas on some things needed to start something like this. And actually the entire site has useful info.

UPDATE: Captain Black, who was featured on this blog recently, wrote a short essay on the theme of RLSH working with community. I think his words mirror what we are thinking here for Riverwest. Here it is in it's entirety:

Coalition minded real life superheroes ( RLSHs ) should enlist other citizens in our creative crusade. What better way to promote doing good than by expanding the ranks of do gooders? Being approachable is key because more stand-offish Movement members may not be suited for this, unless done secretly.

My vision morphs real life superheroes with other citizen innovators like the Guardian Angels or Mad Dads into a united front. This morphing takes various forms: RLSH serve as rallying symbols to spur people into positive action. Imagine us in the vanguard of hybrid groups combining best practices from costumed activism with those of grassroots movements? This breathes new life into loners and would-be recruits drained by a bad economy and related problems. The vitality of RLSH imagery complements the numbers of fellow concerned citizens needed to expand our impact.

The era of the Lone Real Life Superhero may soon met the Dawn of the RLSH-Inspired Community Coalition, pronounced "rick." This isn't an either/or proposition. RLSH who prefer to work solo or with other Movement members are free to do so. Coalition-minded folks need to identify places where public meetings can be held to introduce our non-RLSH majority to this unique lifestyle. Crime, hunger and hopelessness demand mass action.

Real life superheroes can serve as symbols and field marshals in the coalition building process. This doesn't take the place of RLSH-only teams. It actually assists them by offering more hands and minds. We have set the standard for what creative individuals can accomplish. The next step may be leading community coalitions which widen our scope beyond current levels.

If real life superheroes creatively serve the community (and we do!), isn't it time to invite the community to serve beside us?

NADRA ENZI AKA CAPT. BLACK promotes crime prevention and self-development.

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