Neighbors for Neighbors

Do stuff with and for your neighbors

Hey Joe,


Yes, we are sick of violent crime!


Highland Park is looking at a process and set of tools to deal with crime, which borrows from TQM and the business world.


We’ve met with BPD and they seem very receptive to the TQM idea of continuous improvement. It’s odd because I remember all the tension over citizen review boards for BPD and the reluctance to adopt critical assessments of the police to improve the quality of service, based on input from the community. But the ideal part of this process is that it is data driven and demands cooperation between all parties: BPD, the community, and elected officials. Lord knows, I don’t want to attend another vigil for a slain young person, sealing my solidarity, but no plan of action.


In a coming community forum we’d like you to attend and give a brief presentation, if you’re game.


This process is based on the life works of W. Edwards Deming who transformed Japan’s car industry to competitive excellence. One of his sayings was: “In god we trust, all others must bring data”. From his perspective, given our current wave of crime, tears and vigils are expressions of affection and sadness. While this is required to help heal us, BPD needs expression of report, less the emotion, with detail, followed up by a plan of action. This must be driven by all.




Views: 50


Replies to This Discussion


First of all thanks for joining. I was kinda hoping you would.

I'm totally feeling "I don’t want to attend another vigil for a slain young person, sealing my solidarity, but no plan of action."

I agree with you that data and transparency is going to be key. I do also think that the our focus should not be just on BDP. BPD is just one component, and that if we are really going to address violence and crime, we can not think violence and crime as the problem but rather as symptoms.

Given the complexity of this I think we need to break down our efforts into short, medium, and longterm efforts and goals. Violence and crime will continue to happen, and we will need to continue to deter and respond. But at the same time we need to keep up the good work, as I know you do, and plan and act for the future as well. And by we, I don't just mean the handful of us who continue the work, in our free time, after work, thousands and neighbors. That is going to be our biggest challenge. We come up with plans, try them adjust, and keep going that I know.

I'm curious about the role of values, especially in terms how they play into in how we treat each other and how we go about address these symptoms. I think this actually should be one of first conversations. Actually, having written this, I feel really strongly about this. I'm not just interested in locking up the bad guys, cause they are people too, and we all know better than that.

The more I think about all of this, the more I want this to be a citywide conversation. You and I know the people doing the work around the city, I think we all need to come together and start doing the work together with longer term goals, pulling our resources and knowledge and then rolling it back out through our networks and with the participation of anyone who wants to help. I know I don't have the answers, and I know others do.

I'd be happy to attend to the metting and share our plan.

Hey Joseph,

Completely agree with you. In fact, your curiosity on values is no doubt is a shared point of interest. The materials I posted require cross-pollination from many stake-holders, not just BPD. The varied perspectives, during development of the theme/problem statement and brainstorming causal analysis (ishikawa, or fishbone exercise), always bring to light salient points like: what are our values?

We got BPD to provide crime data for our neighborhood in simple ranked form and also shown on a map. Right away things popped out at us. For example, the top five items were: some kind of theft (27 calls), drug related (22 calls), vandalism (15 calls), gang disturbance (13 calls), and fire arms (12 calls).

But what does that data mean? When a group focuses on root causes, all kinds of ideas get put on the table. Our neighborhood group has not gone through the exercise yet, but to get reacquainted with the process, I imagined what my neighbors would say when presented with this information.

As a group we’d say break-ins and thefts are on the rise. Taken alone we could say, find the individuals and lock them up for being thieves. But all calls taken in totality, the data says much, much more. For instance, are the thefts (1st on the list) necessary to feed a drug habit (2nd on the list), that if dig a bit deeper into vandalism (3rd on the list) we find it’s gang related and explains gang disturbance (4th on the list) and also explains firearm complaints which is 5th on the list.

What is the root cause of most of the crime we experience in our neighborhoods? Is it related to drug trafficking by gangs? The data, in our case, is compelling. How do we come up with solutions, given what we know?

We could lock up a bunch of drug users. But we could also recognize each of these users as our neighbors, in need of help with their addiction, which speaks to your point about our values as a community. What are our values? Maybe we can dramatically reduce crime in our neighborhoods by addressing our drug issues and somehow making a future that’s bright for all of us, with schools that work and jobs that build human capital and sustain the place we call home.

Then again, perhaps my synthesis is completely wrong and precisely why we need many eyes looking at the problem and offering individual synthesis to test what we think will work. This is the power TQM continuous improvement and I look forward to working with you and other neighbors to make a difference.



© 2023   Created by Joseph Porcelli (Chief Neighbor).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service