Making Philadelphia Safe

From the Institute for Civic Values we have this proposal.

As we at ISCV wrestle with how to contribute most to the anti-violence movements in the City in the coming year, it seems clear to us that we need to achieve two critical goals:

1. Unite all the groups in our neighborhoods working to reduce crime and destructive behavior with those who are trying to help people who commit crime ‘go straight’ into a comprehensive movement for safe neighborhoods.

2. Establish as a basic goal of our movement not only reducing crime, but reducing the number of people who commit crime. That is the only way to insure that our neighborhoods will be safe over time.

The following is a proposed ten point PhillyBlocks Anti-Crime Neighborhood Agenda built on these principles.

We invite your comments–and especially your statements of support.

Making Philadelphia Safe

A Proposed PhillyBlocksNeighborhood Agenda

Institute for the Study of Civic Values

1. Establish partnership between Town Watch groups seeking to reduce ongoing known criminal activity with those who are fighting code violations and trash dumping and those who are working with ex-offenders and at-risk young people in the neighborhood. Every area of the city should have a neighborhood safety network that includes everyone working on violations of the law from code violations, trash dumping, drug dealing and drug houses, and related offenses.

2. Adopt the “311″ System that enables citizens to report non-emergency problems to the City and strengthen the “Eyes and Ears” program of the Managing Director’s Office that enables community groups, block captains, and concerned citizens gain a quick response in dealing with code violations, trash dumping and related problems. Insure that citizens get an immediate response to citizen complaints that sets forth how the City will handle them. .

3. Adequately fund the District Attorney’s Public Nuisance Task Force and broaden collaboration between community groups and the Task Force to address ongoing serious problems in neighborhoods that are well known but not yet addressed by the criminal justice system.

4. Establish a strong relationship between the Police and community groups to implement the G.R.I.P.P Program to encourage people to turn in their guns in every neighborhood and continue to fight for new laws that protect the community from the illegal possession of guns.

5. Enable every Police District to issue its reports on area crime via email to networks that enable citizens to monitor these offenses on a quarterly basis. These reports should be placed on the Police District’s web site, with easy access from city groups.

6. Fight for adequate funding of drug treatment programs to insure that everyone who seeks and needs drug treatment can get it and insist that all drug treatment programs and centers be managed in ways that protect the surrounding neighborhood.

7. Strengthen block association and community organization with After School Programs aimed at providing increased opportunities for young people to get involved in the neighborhood. Strengthen block and neighborhood group partnerships with Truancy Centers, the District Attorney’s Juvenile Aid Panels, and related programs aimed at helping young people overcome destructive behavior at an early level. Support efforts to place young people who cause problems in schools in programs with expertise on helping them move in a positive direction.

8. Secure the fast release of people from the Philadelphia Prison for people awaiting trial for minor offenses, held there simply because they can’t make bail. Support proposals to move people charged with major offenses from the Philadelphia Prison to the State Prison System.

9. Secure an adequate budget for the City’s Probation Department to have caseloads of no more than 125 people apiece and set up a communications system between citizens, the police, and Probation to enable citizens to report to the Probation Department people who may be in violation of their probation. Insist that the Probation Department release a quarterly report on the status of ex-offenders they are monitoring in each division.

10.Fight for funds to support job training and placement for ex-offenders, within a system parallel to the welfare-to-work system. Require as a condition of probation and parole that ex-offenders enroll in a Reentry Center, in the same way that TANF recipients must enroll with the Department of Public Welfare and follow a structured strategy for getting off of welfare.

Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values, 1218 Chestnut St.,
Rm. 702, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107 215-238-1434 edcivic@libertynet. org

ISCV web site: http://www.iscv. org
Also Check out “Neighborhoods Online” at http://www.neighborhoodsonline. net.
Or in Philadelphia: http://www.phillyneighborhoods. org

“Citizenship is the American ideal. There may be an army of actualities
opposed to that ideal, but there is no ideal opposed to that ideal.”
–G.K. Chesterton

These ideas seem amazing rational given the situation we find the city in today. Give them some thought and send any comments you have to the email listed above.