In a blog for CitiesSpeak, Jason Cooper, a director for LISC’s safety initiatives, describes the urgent work of helping residents, non-profits and police work together to prevent crime—which is exactly what LISC supports in 74 areas across the country through the Justice Department’s Community-Based Crime Reduction Program. As the national training and technical assistance partner for the program, LISC has an up-close view of how it succeeds in making communities safer, stronger and more cohesive.
Winter may be hanging on longer than expected (in some parts of the country), but at LISC, the month of March has blossomed like never before. In the last three weeks, we raised $68 million—from longstanding donors such as State Farm and Wells Fargo, through new partnerships with ProMedica, Union Pacific and the San Francisco Foundation, and with expanded public resources from the CDFI Fund and the city of Washington, DC. We’ll invest it. We’ll leverage it. We’ll use it to lift up underinvested neighborhoods and develop the skills of talented people in our neighborhoods. There’s still much to do to foster economic opportunity in our communities and we are grateful for this support, which helps us do the job. What a month it’s been. And we've still got a week to go!
For decades, the residents of Flint, Michigan have endured high rates of crime alongside devastating unemployment, depopulation and blight—and recently, a severe water crisis on top of that. But the energy and commitment of neighbors, business people and key anchor institutions are transforming the historic University Avenue corridor. Crime there, in turn, has plummeted. A Department of Justice community safety grant, with training and technical assistance from LISC, has ramped up those efforts and is helping make the corridor a model of problem-solving, and optimism, for all of Flint.
Drawing on its expertise in rural development and community safety, LISC is helping a team of local leaders to reduce crime and build community in three southeastern Kentucky counties. With a federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the partners are finding new and creative strategies to address the unique conditions and terrain of Appalachia—strategies that may serve as a model for similar efforts in other parts of rural America.
In some communities, there is a sense that crime is insurmountable. As part of our occasional series on community development research, LISC's research chief, Chris Walker, says that the data tells another story. “The sense of futility that pervades some conversations about safety is wildly misplaced,” he writes in his latest blog. He points to outcomes research that details the success of place-based strategies. The challenge, he says, lies in cutting them to fit local circumstances.