SafeGrowth Program working toward safer neighborhoods

SafeGrowth Program working toward safer neighborhoods

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - City of Toledo leaders are partnering with LISC, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, to make neighborhoods in the area a better place to live.

The program called SafeGrowth, took place Tuesday and Wednesday.

Neighborhood leaders met at Nexus Healthcare Downtown, worked on finding out what they can do to facilitate change.

"Everyone has a concern about crime. We do surveys all over the city of Toledo, we find that crime is the number 1 issue about confidence about how people feel about their neighborhoods," said Bill Farnsel, representing the Englewood Neighborhood group.

The Junction, Englewood, Cherry Street and Uptown neighborhoods were represented, as well as the east side. Each group was paired together discussing their individual neighborhood's issues.

LISC leaders expect a lasting impact from this seminar.

"To make neighborhoods great places to live, to look at health, to look at safety and all of those aspects and we know that starts with resident engagement and strong community partners," said Kim Kutcher, the Executive Director of LISC Toledo.

The groups are looking for areas where they can make a significant impact, and do it quickly.

Two police officers joined the group, including Community Services Officer, Tracey Britt with the Toledo Police Department.

"The overarching goal here is to build relationships between the police department and other community organizations to strengthen and build collaboration," said Officer Britt, a CSO for east Toledo.

The group will take what they have learned, go back to the community and work on projects to create change.

"Even a small one is big, I hope that it gets people to open up, people to talk more, interact more with each other and not have such a cold shoulder to one another with businesses and residents," said Victoria Stegner, representing the Englewood neighborhood.

The SafeGrowth facilitator has been studying small changes made across the country that had a big impact and presented his findings.

"What happens when neighbors stay inside and don't get engaged is it gives free run to predators and criminals to go out onto the streets and offend with impunity," said Greg Saville, the criminologist facilitating the program.

Saville said he's done this in about 50 cities and seen significant change.

The group will meet again in August and present their findings from the community.

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