AmeriCorps Urban Safety (AMUS)
We are executing the expansion of a successful crime reduction model that uses CompStat with AmeriCorps neighborhood organizing. This model is currently running in the Midtown and East Jefferson areas, and has recently expanded to five more areas. The five areas are as follows:
- Bagley Elementary and Bethune Academy Area (University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove area)
- Harms Elementary and Neinas Elementary Area (Southwest Community)
- Clark Elementary and East English Village Preparatory Academy (Morningside Community)
- Cody Area
- Osborn Area.
These areas are in neighborhoods where major efforts are underway in schools (e.g. reading programs, extended hours). In each of these areas vacant homes are being demolished and public lighting is being improved.
This model has reduced crime by over 57% in Midtown, and uses a collaborative approach that pairs crime mapping and analysis with improving levels of neighborhood guardianship through block clubs and tenant organizations, while reducing victim attractiveness and susceptibility (target hardening) through home safety assessments and training.
- Crime Mapping and Analysis (CompStat) is facilitated by software and techniques that have been successful in Midtown. Analyses are presented every two weeks during a collaborative meeting, and these analyses lead to identification of hotspots, focused patrols (both uniformed and plain clothes) and absconder sweeps/home checks. This type of targeted policing allows for more intensive surveillance and traffic enforcement, checking for warrants, and Safe Routes patrols at the start and end of the school day.
- Improving neighborhood guardianship (AmeriCorps) is done through community organization of block clubs, crime hot spot organizing, lot clean ups, vacant home board ups and neighborhood watches. This leads to neighbors knowing one another, trusting one another and taking ownership of their neighborhood space. Additionally, participation improves relationships between residents and police, improving the reporting of public safety issues that are actionable.
- Reducing victim attractiveness and susceptibility, known as Target Hardening, is done through training on home safety, home safety assessment, installation of door and window locks, better lights on houses, Clubs to prevent car theft, as well as VIN etching. These techniques decrease the chance of individuals being the target of crime, while improving home security and reducing victimization.
Sustainability for the initiative
Anchored in schools, outreach efforts involve surveying and then partnering with neighborhood non-profits, churches, and businesses. These community partners would be asked to help sponsor block clubs, neighborhood watches, clean ups and board ups, while helping to advocate for demolition of dangerous properties.
Ramona Rodriguez-Washington, M.P.A.
Program Director, AMUS