Hawthorne Neighborhood Association World Cafe to Discuss Neighborhood Safety

Hawthorne NA, with support from the EINPC and the East Madison Community Center, hosted a World Cafe to talk about neighborhood safety and to come up with some proactive solutions to keep our neighborhood safe. The following are the notes from the world cafe, feel free to add your own suggestions/comments.

Groups Represented at the World Cafe: Hawthorne NA, EINPC, Worthington Park NA, Marquette NA, Neighborhood Design Center, Ridgewood NA, Hawthorne PTA, Brams Addition Neighborhood

Neighborhood Safety World Café Notes

  • Get to know your neighborhood
    • ‘walk-about’ “what makes your neighborhood a special place”
      • can bring kids and family along to walk around the neighborhood
    • visual preference surveys – what people like and don’t like
      • development, needs, city
    • neighborhood modeling exercises
    • get to know your school
  • Get to know your neighbors
    • How:
      • block parties
      • community gatherings
      • neighborhood garage sale
      • people out in their yards
      • meet your neighbors and get their phone numbers
      • have a welcome sheet for new neighbors/families
      • exit interviews if they are leaving, find out why?
    • Why:
      • you know who is out of place
      • hope that others will treat you well if they know you
      • make connections with others
  • Increase engagement
    • Questions:
      • how do we engage people pro-actively?
      • how do you combat the “cocooning”
        • people work hard and then just want to come home and ‘cocoon’
    • What we need to do:
      • build pride in our neighborhood
      • build capacity
      • build community
      • get to know the kids and get them involved
    • Concerns:
      • there has been a cultural shift away from involvement
      • people don’t do anything until they feel threatened
      • people think they can just pay someone else to take care of their problems
      • it is difficult to engage renters
      • we need to include non-English speakers
    • How:
      • Fun
        • games, parade/bike/costumes
        • varied events, mixed-age activities
        • kid’s activities
          • build capacity in kids, help them take pride in their neighborhood
        • have fun activities that draw people and bring neighbors together
          • no one wants to come to ‘board meetings’
      • Food brings people together
        • weed-and-feed
        • ethnic food festivals
      • School engagement
        • interact with kids at the school, use the school for meetings and game nights
        • positive things to do at schools to show what a good neighborhood is, good neighbors are, etc.
      • Meet people
        • talk to people in the neighborhood
        • help each other out with yards and empty water
        • offer assistance when someone looks like they need help
      • information dissemination
        • “block captains”
        • email list
        • phone calls
        • newsletter
        • reporting what you see to neighbors right when it occurs
        • communicate through block captains
    • Why:
      • people want to help out and will help their neighbors when asked
      • “barn-raising” “many hands make light work”
      • if everyone did something, a lot would get done
  • Safety
    • Health
      • mosquitoes and pools of water
      • aggressive dogs
        • also dog waste
    • Traffic:
      • aggressive drivers
      • speeding-learn how to ID cars (not just license #) and which phone number to call
      • slow down traffic
      • speed-control islands
      • speed reporting sign
      • bike and street crossing safety
    • School safety
    • Police safety
      • can’t get a hold of cops
      • police aren’t helpful
      • people fear retaliation: when the cops come they stop by the house of the person who called them and that person then feels like a target for the violators
      • self reporting
        • they don’t call you back
      • there isn’t enough money to hire enough police, the police are not the answer
    • Snow shoveling
      • wheelchairs and strollers
    • Block captains-alders-police
      • block captains could be a central place for people to complain so that they won’t be targeted for reporting crimes
      • emails to neighbors about crimes going on so they can be aware (the police newsletters are too long after things have already occurred)
    • Feeling Safe:
      • you feel safer when you know who people are, when you know your neighbors
      • tunnel under East Wash. doesn’t feel safe
      • “neighborhood” brings a feeling of safety
    • Trash
    • Crime never goes away

Final comments from participants:

  • Block captain system works well and can also work in apartment buildings
    • “organized” information/communication
  • We need to combat apathy and increase involvement
  • We need to do community building across divides (include the Hmong population)
  • Community connections are important, we need to bridge divides, include food, kids and fun
  • We should be bringing neighbors together, helping our neighbors in need with snow removal or lawn mowing
  • Besides crime prevention we should also address traffic and snow removal concerns, we should have block captains with email and phone
  • Glad we could come together
  • Knowing your neighbors is important, assessing specific issues at the neighborhood level, many different approaches to events: flower exchange, ethnic food festivals, etc., use additional communication methods besides email
  • School connections are important, building relationships with the kids
  • Maybe we should have every other month social gatherings instead of just meetings
  • A next step is to get your neighbors’ phone numbers so you can call them in situations where you are unsure about calling the police

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