Thursday, May 24, 2007

Effective Public Safety Strategies for Plainfield

Public safety has to be the most important part of Plainfields revitalization strategy. We have seen our crime rates drop over the last decade as part of a nationwide trend. That is good but not good enough. As long as our crime rate is significantly higher than surrounding communities, we will struggle to raise our children and improve our neighborhoods and shopping districts.

Here are some police division strategies that we can use and that I have been advocating for:

1. set up surveillance cameras downtown and in the neighborhoods that have the highest incidence of crime. The basement of Horizons (Teppers)has been set aside for city use as well as a grant for $450,000. This is an opportunity to set up the surveillance facility.

2. have more police officers on foot and bicycle to increase their visibility and interaction with the people they serve.

3. assign officers to a traffic detail so we can finally get a grip on speeding in our residential areas. Our Public Safety Director rightfully says that the increased revenues from speeding tickets would pay the officer salaries. This needs to happen right away.

4. change the police strategy for block associations so they are attending local meetings regularly in addition to or instead of depending on the city wide coordinating meetings.

5. We have a top heavy police hierarchy. We need to increase the deployment of officers into the community by reducing the number of supervising officers. This is being done by attrition and should continue.

The police are just one part of our solution. We need stronger jobs programs, a much stronger partnership between the city and the Board of Education and more mentoring of young people. This is a job for the whole community. What are your thoughts. You can contact me at

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