I've taken the liberty to draft a mission for the group. Please reply with thoughts.
On this group communicate and organize to:
A) Encourage and facilitate the usage of the park by neighbors go for walks, play Frisbee, read a book, have a picnic - you get the idea - in the park. Positive activity displaces negative activity.
B) Make those who use the park aware of recent assaults 3/15/2009 and 4/21/2009 and have them call 911 when they see suspicious behavior.
C) Especially after dark, educate and encourage park user to use common sense and stay in well lit areas; to not talk on their mobile phones or listen to their ipod as it says - I'm not really paying attention. When possible walk with others. By walking with other it's greatly decreases the chance of something happening.
D) Coordinate door knocking on all the perimeter homes of the park to let them know about the assaults and ask them to keep an eye out for and call 911 if they witness suspicious behavior.
E) Coordinate the engagement of park user who walk their dogs to educate them about the assaults, give them whistles, and ask them to call 911 if they see suspicious behavior.
F) Encourage neighborly engagement. To have park users look each other in the eye and say - Good morning/afternoon/evening. Looking people in the eye and saying hello is wonderful thing to do but also takes away the anonymity away of people who may be up to no good which is powerful deterrent.
G) Invite anyone and every who in interested in Park Safety and enjoyment to join this group, The Friends South West Corridor Park.
I think this is great! The only comment I have is on B). It is a little too specific in my mind and won't be relevant in a year or two. How about something like:
B) Keep those who use the park up to date on recent incidents and have them call 911 when they see suspicious behavior.
Then I wonder how we'll do that. Not all park users are on this site. Do we post flyers? Hand out leaflets at the T stations? How do we make sure the information gets into the Gazette?
More on implementation:
The whole looking people in the eye thing...that is hard! I do it all the time with people who I don't feel are threatening, but the moment I'm walking by someone who makes me the least bit nervous -- or who I think I might make feel nervous, I chicken out. I don't even realize it until after the fact. Is there some sort of "training" to help people practice that? Maybe Sgt. Krause has some ideas. Aversion therapy!?!?!
Love the whistle idea. Is there any chance E-13 will start a push to get the program up and running in all the neighborhoods around JP? I almost always have my whistle out after dark, but I'm not confident people know what to do when they hear it. There's so much noise pollution that I for one tend to ignore almost everything (except the d*mn ice cream truck, which I can't seem to get away from!).
And what about RAD training or something similar? I think BPD ran a session sometime not too long ago. I personally would like some training on how to deal with a situation once in it. (I know intellectually that I am supposed to give an attacker whatever they ask for, but my instinct would probably be to say "screw you, buddy" and walk away. I think I need some practice on toning down the attitude! :)
Just some thoughts. I'm happy to continue brainstorming.
Did anything ever happen with this? I just saw some info on the E-13 website about whistles. The success stories are really amazing, and it sounds like it would be worth promoting this not just as an anti-crime initiative, but also as a way for neighbors to commit to supporting/looking out for one another:
Nothing has really come of this in the form of Mass organizing. There will be Pot Luck for neighbors on an abutting street this weekend but so far that's it. If you willing to help me organize something, I'm happy to work with you.
Hey, Joseph, I'd be happy to help out with an evening of whistle distribution or something like that. Also, my apartment complex has fairly regular meetings, so maybe we could get the police to come to one of those. What did you have in mind at this point?