Friday, September 14, 2007

10,000 Black men to patrol the streets

This seems like the type of plan that could work.
Its long been my stance that it takes the PEOPLE of the community to fix and correct the problem inside of poor communities.
Only through the people taking a firm stance and saying NO MORE can things truly take hold. No other way is possible for long lasting calm and peace. You can throw a cop on every street corner but till the PEOPLE come together to turn their HOOD into a Neighborhood, nothing will last.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The city's embattled police chief, acknowledging that police alone cannot quell a run of deadly violence, has called on 10,000 black men to patrol the streets to reduce crime.

Sylvester Johnson, says black men have a duty to protect more vulnerable residents. He wants each volunteer to pledge to work three hours a day for at least 90 days.

"It's time for African-American men to stand up," Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News, which first reported the story Wednesday. "We have an obligation to protect our women, our children and our elderly. We're going to put men on the street. We're going to train them in conflict resolution."

The program's backers include Dennis Muhammad, a former Nation of Islam official who has been hired by police departments in Detroit, Syracuse, N.Y., and other cities to conduct community-sensitivity training.

Philadelphia, the nation's sixth-largest city, has nearly 1.5 million residents, 44 percent of them black. It has notched 294 homicides this year. More than 80 percent of the slayings involve handguns, and most involve young black males.

Johnson plans to introduce the "Call to Action: 10,000 Men, It's a New Day" program on Oct. 21, three months before his planned retirement.

"He won't get anywhere near that number. If he gets 1,000 people, it will be great," said Heather DeRussy, who leads a local Guardian Angels chapter that has recruited just seven members in the past two years. Given its size, the group focuses on a single north Philadelphia park plagued by prostitution and drug use.

DeRussy lauded Johnson for his effort but said she fears the volunteers will find it dangerous to patrol their home turf.

"In their own neighborhoods, with the 'Don't snitch' mentality, they're kind of putting themselves in harm's way, because there are going to be people who disagree with what they're doing," DeRussy said.

The men who join Johnson's program will not carry weapons or make arrests but will instead emphasize conflict resolution, similar to the Guardian Angels' ground rules.

Police in other cities have hired Muhammad in recent years to provide sensitivity training to officers and community members, but it was not immediately clear whether any have deployed a volunteer patrol force.

Johnson, who had led the police department for seven years, appears increasingly frustrated by the daily gun violence. He and other city leaders have blamed the Legislature for not passing gun-control measures.

Mayor John F. Street, whose term is up at the beginning of 2008, has voiced support for the program, but it was not clear whether he would become involved. His office did not return a call for comment Thursday, nor did Johnson's office.

Street and Johnson have both endured withering criticism from frustrated residents and community leaders who say they should do more to halt the violence.

One gun-violence researcher said the idea of putting citizens on patrol had the potential to show children that adults care.

"A steady exposure to violence just creates this toxic environment for children and youth. As adults, we don't want them to think they have to handle it on their own," said Rose Cheney, executive director of the Firearm and Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

"If, by putting people out there — not just as a town watch, but as resources who connect them to what they need from adults — that can be very promising," she said.

There was another program in I think St Louis that sought to bring in dozens of black leaders or black male role models for the local Junior High and High School black teens. I think coupling this effort with the one that the Police Chief has, real change can take hold.

The problems that are effecting Philly are SERIOUS.
They have today 294 murders so far this year. Its only September.
I applaud the actions of this Police Chief.
More should follow suit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We got to get the kids together. Creat some type of sport or activity to get into.Maybe, something like poetry reading,open mic.Something fun where they can communicate and share ideas with each other.