LISC Publication Series on MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards
Bricks and mortar can be powerful crime problem-solving tools, as can new business development, community organizing, and strong property management. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recently released a new publication series based on lessons learned from the recipients of the 2008 MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards (available for download at www.lisc.org/metlife).
The MetLife Foundation Awards celebrate exemplary partnerships between police and community organizations seeking to collectively reduce crime, spur economic development, and build social capital in troubled neighborhoods. In 2008, LISC and a panel of police and community development leaders selected 11 winners from among more than 500 applicants. The new publications profile the winning partnerships and their strategies for improving safety and quality of life. Each winning partnership also received a monetary award of $10,000 to $25,000.
Six “Neighborhood Revitalization” case studies describe how police and community development groups tackled entrenched crime problems in neighborhoods hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, or where disorder and blight contributed to narcotics and gang activity. Practitioners from cities as diverse as Boston, Massachusetts, Indiantown, Florida, and Ypsilanti, Michigan, describe what worked—and what didn’t—as they sought to integrate law enforcement with property acquisition and focused neighborhood organizing to achieve long-term results. Their accomplishments included replacing crime hot spots with high-quality affordable housing and attractive public parks. Winners also attracted businesses to inner-city commercial districts struggling with negative image and disinvestment, and mobilized residents to partner with police and other stakeholders to reclaim streets.
Five additional case studies describe community-police partnerships focused on a particular issue or goal, including a multiagency gang intervention coalition in Miami, an alliance between the NYPD and an immigrant service agency that has helped reduce domestic violence in Brooklyn’s Caribbean communities, and a partnership between senior citizens and Cincinnati’s Community- Police Partnering Center that restored safety to a troubled housing complex.
All of the papers share a common theme: partnerships are essential to sustainable crime problem solving in difficult times. While some of the approaches may sound nontraditional, many of the police officers involved have noted that working with community developers simply “made their job easier” by giving them access to economic development dollars and people with their fingers on the pulse of the community. These comments are backed by data which shows that the MetLife Foundation Award partnerships achieved crime reductions in their target areas that far outpaced other similar neighborhoods that did not benefit from the collaborative approach.
LISC and MetLife Foundation also handed out 11 awards in 2009 and are now soliciting applications for the 2010 awards starting this month. The Request for Proposals is available for download at www.lisc.org/metlife and applications are due February 26. This is the ninth year that LISC, a national community development intermediary, has partnered with MetLife Foundation to administer these awards. LISC’s Community Safety Initiative also provides training and technical assistance to community developer-police partnerships around the country with support from the DOJ Community Capacity Development Office and Bureau of Justice Assistance. Priority projects in 2010 are responding to crime in neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosure, and other neighborhoods where crime and violence are thwarting sustainable economic and social development. For more information, please contact Julia Ryan, director of LISC’s Community Safety Initiative, at email@example.com.