‘Strong Neighborhoods’ is one of the issues of the upcoming mayoral election. When one stops to think about it, who is the opposition to strong neighborhoods? Proponents and candidates for weak neighborhoods? Proposing strong neighborhoods is a way to express a feel good issue which at the end of the day has very little substance or meaning. People doing something about creating a strong neighborhoods around them has lots of substance and meaning.
Here’s my view of what makes strong neighborhoods: caring, involved neighbors. Neighbors that frequently walk through their neighborhoods and meet and know and talk to their neighbors. Neighbors that lend a helping hand when they see a neighbor in need. Neighbors that can respect the rights and privacy of others. I personally walk through my neighborhood on a daily basis and know most of my neighbors by name or by return of their wave as they are passing by in their cars. This to me is being a good neighbor, and I feel I am living in a strong neighborhood.
I’m a member of http://www.crimemapping.com/. It’s a great way to monitor police reports about crimes occuring in your neighborhood and the city at large. I’m also a member of https://nextdoor.com/, which is ‘the private social network for your neighborhood’. Want strong neighborhoods? Join nextdoor.com, talk to your neighbors, get them to join. It’s a great way to communicate. It isn’t some government agency swooping in to tell you what to do, it puts you and your neighbors in charge.
There are also existing groups and associations populated by your neighbors that probably have the same concerns that you do. Find out what these groups are, who the leaders are, contact them, get involved.
Bottom line: who or what entity is in the best position to ensure you live in a strong neighborhood? My opinion is this is not a top down issue, but one that works best from the bottom up. My opinion of the person with the vested interest in promoting YOUR strong neighborhood is YOU!