Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighborhood, at all hours, without
exception. As I’ve spoken to people throughout Ward 6, I have heard too many stories of simple requests such as additional lighting being ignored or dismissed by our current leadership.
Each instance of crime demands an immediate response, whether that means increased community engagement, accountability on law enforcement, or something as simple as enhanced lighting.
Residents should also be afforded a greater opportunity to collaborate with
public safety authorities on a rolling basis. Meetings can't only occur after there has been a problem, and law enforcement should actively engage with the people they serve.
Importantly, neighbors who are treated unfairly during interactions with law enforcement to be heard. Too many of our community members end up
entangled in the criminal justice system for years because of nonviolent crimes,
like loitering or petty theft, often the result of profiling or unfair targeting. Others face even worse, such as abuse or even death at the hands of local police. It cannot be ignored that communities of color and our trans neighbors bear the brunt of this injustice, making fair policing a priority for realizing true equity in our city.
These concerns should be heard by our leadership, and acted upon when it
comes time to create tailored policies and strategies to meet the diverse needs
of our many neighborhoods throughout the Ward. I’m disappointed by our city
government’s consistent inaction on these issues. Take the NEAR Act, for example. The law, which would work proactively with communities and public health professionals to prevent crime, garnered strong support from residents and public policy experts alike. The Council passed it in 2016; two years later, it’s still not fully funded or implemented. And despite public statements from more than 50 community organizations to take action on it and hold a hearing on policing, Councilmember Allen, the Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, has refused to do so. The safety of our neighbors is far too important to be left in the hands of unresponsive leaders.