Imagine that people in your neighborhood are starting a “Neighborhood Crime Watch” or “Civilian Corps.” Maybe they’re putting up signs telling people to look out for strangers, and suspicious activities. Or maybe they’re trying to organize more community-based policing.

Now try to figure out steps to challenge these activities: either as a role play or in conversation.

  • What is the common sense about safety this group uses? How is it related to their position in the area–are they old-time residents, or recent gentrifiers? Do they seem to represent the feeling of most people in your neighborhood, or only a small but vocal minority?
  • How can you start from a desire to be safe from crime to start a conversation about alternative practices, or about the dangers of the program they’re proposing?
  • Where and how could you do this effectively? Would it hep to talk to people one-on-one?
  • Could you start a different neighborhood group that proposed a different model of safety?