Since recent uprisings have led to calls to defund police and invest in Black and Brown communities, this article explores the lessons learned about community safety from a four-year effort to reduce crime and improve safety in a predominately Latinx suburb of Washington, DC.
It shows that programs that invested in building trust and rapport between police and community had little impact. Alternatively, efforts that built community, resourced and engaged residents, and invested in neighborhood infrastructure were more effective. The case highlights the critical role of community-based organizations in helping residents imagine and execute programs that improve community safety without relying on police.
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Article appears in Journal of Community Practice (2021), Volume 29, Issue 4, Pages 375-390