It all starts with a broken window or a boarded up home. Then weeds quickly consume a once lush and manicured lawn. Trash begins to accumulate on sidewalks and street corners. Neighbors stop venturing out on their porches. Crime takes over. Fear and hopelessness set in.
Law enforcement can tackle the crime and disorder that lead to the decay in neighborhoods. But only residents can reverse the decline. With the help of Safe & Sound, a crime reduction and prevention initiative, residents of eight Milwaukee neighborhoods are doing just that. The agency unites residents, youth, law enforcement and community resources to build safe and empowered neighborhoods.
Its collaborations across neighborhood stakeholders help break the vicious cycle of crime and violence and grow collective efficacy – the sense of community needed to improve safety. Community organizers, or partners, work with residents to organize neighborhood clean-ups, keep tabs on nuisance and vacant properties or simply meet to discuss concerns.
It works with youth by nurturing their development and organizing positive ways for them to contribute to Milwaukee neighborhoods.
Equally as important is the work Safe & Sound does to foster positive relationships between the community and local law enforcement, including police, district attorneys and community prosecutors. Its community prosecution unit coordinators work with residents and across partners within four Milwaukee Police Department districts. They address nuisance property issues to deter criminal and other problematic behaviors and also offer neighbors another way to report and communicate about crime on an anonymous basis.
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$50 supports youth murals, art projects or other neighborhood improvement projects
$150 sponsors three gang graffiti removal projects making neighborhood spaces more attractive for residents and businesses
$500 hosts police listening circle to grow police-community member relationships and find solutions to common problems