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Police-Community Partnerships Improve Neighborhood Safety

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Pop City posted an article about how effective police-community partnerships can offer ways to improve neighborhood safety. The article highlights our friends in Lawrenceville as well as other local LISC cities across the nation. Read the full article here.

The Lawrenceville story is this: The Butler Street corridor specifically, had experienced an increased interest from 10511312_10154586374355029_1325464039287454887_nnighttime entertainment, liquor-serving, and hospitality service establishments. Despite the desire to continue to grow a vibrant, thriving destination shopping, dining, and arts entertainment district, the community recognized that the growth of a nighttime entertainment district, if not responsible managed, could have negative impacts on the adjacent existing community.

With support of a $10,000 Small & Simple grant from Neighborhood Allies (PPND at that time) Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation were able to create a community process that would yield a healthy, safe and productive business district in the neighborhood. The process enabled residents participate in the a  to understand and identify good business plans and opportunities and also intervene in the liquor license and zoning process in order to protect the neighborhood from exploitation and negative impacts that nuisance bars can have on overall quality of life in the community.

That Small & Simple investment spurred the development of a city-wide Responsible Hospitality Planning Process that will help steward the growth of responsible managed nighttime entertainment districts in our City’s business districts. The city hired former Lawrenceville Corp staffer, Maya Henry this past July to lead the effort.

 “Like our transit planning, like how we manage special events, these economies will benefit from planning and management,” said Maya Henry, the city’s new night-time economy manager. “My job is to bring the lens of the night-time economy to all of those places that already exist in city planning.”

Here’s what Pop City had to say about this work locally: 

“Three years ago, Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood had a problem with a nuisance bar. Through a combination of relationship building with police, neighborhood mobilization, and substantial grant funding for community safety,

lisc_3Lawrenceville had seen a 60 percent reduction in crime since 2002 and an almost complete elimination of Part 1 crimes like homicides, aggravated assaults and prostitution. “So community members were distraught when a local social club, traditionally a community space, became a hub of criminal activity.

“There were shootings, underage drinking and drugs,” says Lauren Byrne, Executive Director of Lawrenceville United, a community development corporation. “And it’s really hard in Pennsylvania to shut down a liquor-licensed establishment once it’s already operating.”

But Lawrenceville United drew upon the partnerships it had built over ten years to shine a light on the issue. After a three year fight and with the help of the Bureau of Building Inspections, the local police and Liquor Control Enforcement, the bar was shut down. Not only that, the bar owners were also denied a transfer of their liquor license to a nearby property following community-led protests.” Read More…

By: Brandon Alcorn, Pop City Media, December 10,2014

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