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Safe Streets Turns 25, Looks to Next Quarter Century
Tacoma's Safe Streets program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Begun in 1989 as a response to violence and gang activity in Tacoma's neighborhoods, Safe Streets was a call for collective action. The response to that call came from 125 neighborhood groups over the last quarter century, organizing and training neighbors to reclaim their neighborhoods, schools, and business districts. Block watches, neighborhood patrols, youth leadership teams, graffiti removal teams, safe routes to schools, and substance abuse and violence prevention education initiatives have all been a part of the program.
Annual tracking from the organization shows that between 2008 and 2013 Safe Streets organized block groups saw a 20% reduction in crime, with a simultaneous 69% increase in "community connectivity" (partnership and communication between neighbors). The group has accomplished a lot since its inception, but Safe Streets is looking to the future. Read more in the press release or at safest.org
Our work isn't done
We are committed to continuing our work, developing leaders for long-term change. Until every Pierce County neighborhood is safe.
Safe Streets came out of a time when gangs, drug dealing, and violence was a pressing issue in many of Tacomas neighborhoods. 25 years later, they've seen a lot of successes, although as they acknowledge, there's more to be done.
What will the next 25 years of challenges for Tacoma's neighborhoods look like?
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