The Neighborhood Ownership Model is a flexible, community-based approach to creating significant and lasting crime reduction. It is a citizen initiated program enthusiastically supported by the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department
The Power of Community: Sustainable Crime Reduction is Rooted in Active, Educated, and Engaged Communities.
A strong partnership among neighborhoods, police officers, prosecutors and judges is the best crimefighting weapon available in the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors. When all the parts of the criminal justice system and community work together to address problems and develop shared solutions, we can achieve longterm crime reduction.
If all residents work together each and every day, we can create an environment where criminals live in fear of being held accountable for their actions. It is designed to provide ideas for citizens to create their own Neighborhood Ownership Model to reduce crime and increase the quality of life in their communities. Every neighborhood in the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors has the potential to reduce crime. Individuals in this community who choose to participate in keeping their neighborhoods safe and hold criminals accountable are the most powerful force in crime prevention and reduction. When we worked together to manage our own crime issues, to patrol our streets and to monitor criminal cases in our neighborhood, we will have a lower crime rate in our city.
The Problem: The Opportunistic Criminal.
Criminal activity occurs when desire, access and ability convene. Criminals select their targets either through careful calculation or by mere random opportunity. Criminals choose where they commit their crimes. They commit crimes in neighborhoods where they believe they have a low risk of getting caught. Vulnerable neighborhoods often have limited street lighting, graffiti scattered buildings, or neighbors unwilling to get involved. Criminals know the neighborhoods that are more likely to tolerate bad behavior and they plan and act accordingly.
The Solution: The Engaged Community with a Plan.
Criminals fear neighborhoods that do nott tolerate crime. Safe neighborhoods do not merely look to government agencies to fix problems; instead, they leverage government resources as their partners in developing joint solutions. Reducing crime in any neighborhood is a serious challenge. However, once the community understands their own collective power in keeping their streets safe, the next step is creating a simple plan and some fortitude to implement it. The facts are clear: neighborhoods that plan and manage their own safety and security have the lowest incidents of crime. When residents take ownership, they discover their collective power to prevent crime from happening in their communities; criminals fear those communities and that power.
Getting Started on Creating Your Customized Neighborhood Ownership Plan: Reduce Crime and Increase Quality of Life.
It is understandable to feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking on criminals and reducing crime on your block. There are many community‐based, crime‐fighting tools available for community groups who want to form their own safety committees and Neighborhood Ownership Plans. Several ideas are outlined within this report and have been utilized in the area. Each neighborhood group will want to pick, choose and/or develop a plan that is custom fit just for them.
The best way to get started is to break down the planning and implementation into six basic steps.
Six Steps to Neighborhood Ownership
Step 1: Set up a preliminary team of neighbors.
Talk with your neighbors and friends and find out who may be interested in forming a team to get the ball rolling. This could be a team as small as three or as large as 10 people. The size of the group is far less important than the commitment of the people to the tasks at hand: setting preliminary goals for reducing crime and increasing the quality of life in your neighborhood. Utilize this document as a resource for deciding what plans and ideas will work best for your neighborhood.
Step 2: Do a safety assessment.
It is important to know what your neighborhood crime issues are. Does the level of crime in your neighborhood warrant an “Intervention” style approach? This type of approach would be appropriate for neighborhoods with high crime levels, violent crime, and serious specific issues that need to be addressed immediately. Or does your neighborhood warrant a “Support” style approach? This type of approach would be appropriate for neighborhoods with low to moderate crime levels, where you don’t have urgent issues to address but require a sustained and long‐term approach to reducing crime. This would also be appropriate as a second‐phase approach for neighborhoods that need to begin with an intervention. Work with your neighborhood police officers to perform a neighborhood assessment of crime so you have the information you need to put together your own Neighborhood Ownership Plan.
Step 3: Prepare a Written Neighborhood Ownership Plan.
While it may seem daunting to work with your neighbors to develop a plan to reduce crime, the results of other neighborhoods should help make the task a bit more palatable. No two neighborhood plans look exactly alike, as every neighborhood has a personality and issues all its own. Establish priorities and set goals. Do not try to address too many issues at one time. Take on only what you have the capacity to handle, as it is better to accomplish a few things that matter, than to take on too many plans that you do not have the capacity to see through. As you increase the cooperation of neighbors, you can increase the tasks the team takes on.
Step 4: Bring in and Leverage Government Partners.
There are many government agencies that are equipped to assist you with development and implementation of your Neighborhood Ownership Plan. The Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, your local alderperson, and your Neighborhood Watch members, are good places to start. As you proceed, you will find other resources to help you get connected to the people and agencies that can help you make a difference. When citizens work with police, prosecutors and the courts, citizens have more power than all law enforcement agencies combined.
Step 5: Implement Your Plan.
It is time to get started on implementation. Be as inclusive as possible. You need leaders, followers and doers. Help everyone find a role in the solutions you have outlined in your plan. If something does not work, try something else. Flexibility is key. Celebrate success. Even the small successes are worth celebrating. Also, you will likely encounter resistance from some of your neighbors and obstacles along the way. This is natural as well, and persistence will see this through. Before you know it, your hard work will pay off!
Step 6: Stay the Course.
Take time. Stabilization takes commitment. This is your neighborhood, your home, your life – and it’s all worth protecting. The most powerful force in the stabilization of any community is the people who live there. Be prepared for things to get worse before they get batter. This is natural when you are doing big things and creating big changes. Your partnerships with government agencies can help you through these ups and downs.
Conclusion: It is Time to Make a Difference:
Significant and lasting crime reduction and increased quality of life are only achieved with persistence and courage. The time is now to decide that you want to live in a safe neighborhood where children can play outside safely without fear of being struck by a random bullet, where the elderly can walk home from the grocery store without getting ambushed by street gangs, and where your home is your sanctuary free of predators.
The simple truth is this: a neighborhood is only as safe as its residents permit. Every neighborhood has the ability to be safe and productive. Every neighborhood has the potential to reduce crime. This isn’t a rich or poor issue. It’s not about who has influence in the community and who doesn’t. Keeping your neighborhoods safe is about citizens working together, partnering with law enforcement, implementing a plan and taking ownership for your safety.