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Sunday, July 17, 2011


Do you remember when neighbors knew every child on the block and they called parents if they misbehaved? At that time, neighbors knew how important it was to correct children before destructive behavior got out of control.

Over the years, Americans lost a critical balance between police and citizen responsibility for keeping neighborhoods safe. As citizens backed off, police increased visibility, involvement and technology to control behavior with limited success. Here are 12 ways police increased crime.

1. Police presented unrealistic expectations. National average approx 2.5 officers per 1000 residents. Police cannot keep your neighborhood safe.
2. Police became crime prevention “experts.” Citizens became passive “watchers.” Police and citizens lost a healthy balance of cooperation.
3. Police created dependency by assuming too much responsibility for minor problems including barking dogs, loud music, young vandals and bullies.
4. Police, in some areas, instill fear with local crime statistics. Citizens bought security systems or arm themselves fearing their neighbors.
5. Police increased anger. They received grants and staff support to “fix” neighborhoods. Neighbors backed off. When the money ran out, problems increased.
6. Police assume too much responsibility. Citizens blamed them for not doing their job. Result in some areas…hostility toward police, less cooperation and reporting.
7. Police increased neighborhood isolation. They held meetings and provided home security info. Neighbors arrived as strangers and left as strangers.
8. Police received community-policing grants. Citizens depend on police who didn’t live in the area. Policy shifts, officer leaves and crime, goes up.
9. Police, not parents or adults in the neighborhoods, became the symbol of authority and correction for youth.
10. Police assumed responsibility without understanding the benefits of neighbors solving problems and becoming role models for youth.
11. Police don’t say... it’s your responsibility to keep your neighborhood safe. Police react to crime, citizens prevent crime.
12. Police have many limitations. Residents must take back neighborhood safety if they want to keep children safe.

Americans can restore a healthy balance between police and citizen’s responsibility in the neighborhood. However, neighbors must be involved to help control criminal behavior and correct youth BEFORE they get involved in gangs, drug abuse and violence. Safe neighborhoods require mutual respect and cooperation.

For more information on what you can do to make your community safe, contact:

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. -Albert Einstein


  1. Excellent blog Stephanie. As the wife of a former law enforcement officer I know how involved he would get with helping kids in the areas he was assigned to. Even bringing them library books to help with their reading and bringing up their grades but then shift change would come and not all officers are as concerned. I look forward to your posts with us on Porch Patrol at and am happy to have you as a new porch patrol neighbor!

  2. Thanks, Angie! I am trying to start a new discussion on community responsibility. I hope you will join the new Safe Kids Now Facebook Fan Page. Send me your ideas!