Communities of Opportunity: Categories of Impact
Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood where it is possible to participate in community life without fear. We know that public safety is linked to the built environment and that the physical quality of housing stock influences the safety of a neighborhood. We work hard to design, build and refurbish our projects with safety and security at the forefront, in the knowledge that better quality affordable housing produces safer neighborhoods.
But no housing can be successful if it is surrounded by unsafe streets. Partnerships with police are key to safe communities. Uniting the police and residents through service builds mutual trust and social capital, and leaves everyone feeling safer in the community.
We encourage all of our communities to build relationships with the local police precinct. “Coffee with the Cops” is a regular feature at our properties, as are joint initiatives with law enforcement where residents work alongside police officers to improve the community.
West 135th Street, New York
As part of our nationwide Communities of Opportunity urban gardening initiative, the 135th street residents connected with their local police precinct on a service project to beautify the block, and build their relationship. Residents and the community police officers worked side-by-side to fill the large planters that line 135th street, using seeds given by the precinct and other donated plants. Our new Community Center served as the refreshment, art, music, and community resting place for our seniors during this day of gardening. Uniting the police with the residents through service builds mutual trust, and leaves everyone feeling safer in the community. The residents and the police now work closely to co-create programming at 135th Street, making use of their community center to run police-hosted movie nights, police-led anti-bullying workshops and other community activities.
Community policing is a collaboration between the police and a community that identifies and solves community problems. With the police no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods.