In light of recent events and regarding the waves of crime and robberies that have hit Northside, we all must do our part to make Northside safer; however it’s not going to be easy. Northside is comprised of business owners, students, seniors, and children. We take pride in being a family friendly neighborhood and a place to visit, drink good beer and listen to music. In just a span of a few square miles Northside is the home to blacks, whites, Jews, Catholics, atheists, gays—to name a few. So how does such a diverse neighborhood fight crime? We work together.
1) Don’t be afraid to walk and get to know our streets—The charm of Northside is that it’s small and walk-able. While you should not walk around alone, especially at night (in any neighborhood, for that matter), you should walk around Northside in groups. It saves gas, lowers our carbon footprint, and encourages us to meet our neighbors so that we are able to identify when something isn’t right. Self awareness is key to preventing crime.
2) If something happens, report it. Personally, I have experienced an attempted robbery (in Hoffner Park) and have been harassed more than once on Chase and Hamilton Ave. My biggest regret is that I did not report these. I called the Police Department and was immediately tossed into a frustrating bureaucracy of transfers that I eventually hung up on. Tons of crimes go unreported every week. These unreported crimes skew the crime statistics, make us feel even more alienated and encourage the perpetrator to commit harmful acts again. Reporting a crime, no matter how daunting, puts the power back into the hands of the victim and allows for the Police department to do their job.
3) Be meaningful with your words. Whether you were raised in Northside, lived here for a few years or you are a recent transplant, you represent Northside. You are a leader to someone else in the community. Don’t use hateful rhetoric or assume anything about the people around you. Being supportive, creating helpful dialogue, and having faith in our community is what will separate us from other communities that experience the same problems. Be careful what you post on social networks, whether it’s after a crime or responding to a recent event—everyone reads your words and creates conclusions about who you are and what you represent. Hurtful, racist, unfair words can harm your business, your public face, and make Northside appear intolerant to outsiders.
4) Finally, don’t be afraid to speak up. The more we talk about what is happening, the closer we can come to finding solutions. Your voice matters.
By Rae Hoffman