NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is laying the groundwork to bring its nationally recognized community safety model to Newark during today's first local What Works Summit—a gathering here of some of the nation's leading voices on crime prevention.
LISC's Community Safety Initiative will be featured during the day-long summit and will be rolled out here in the coming months in neighborhoods where LISC is already working to improve housing and schools, revitalize commercial corridors and raise the standards of living for struggling families and seniors.
"No matter how much we invest in the physical infrastructure of our neighborhoods, we can't really make them strong and vibrant if we don't deal with the debilitating impact of crime," said Rhonda Lewis, executive director of Greater Newark LISC, the local arm of the national community development nonprofit.
Lewis stressed that the first steps in LISC's model involve closely connecting law enforcement, policymakers, community leaders, local business owners, clergy, and residents in a constructive, collaborative effort. The What Works Summit is an important early step toward that cooperation.
"We need everyone at the table working together as allies with a common agenda, not antagonists fighting the same battles over and over again. We all share the same goal of making our streets safer. We will not get there without a shared strategy," she said.
The Center for Collaborative Change is bringing the What Works Summit to Newark, in partnership with Greater Newark LISC, the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, and the Newark Police Department. It will include a frank conversation with Philadelphia police officers about the real-world impact of LISC's community safety model in some Philly neighborhoods where it has been implemented.
"The goal of the 2013 What Works Summit is to identify best practices for police-community relations that can be used in Newark and to set in motion collaborative efforts to implement them," said Laurel Dumon, executive director of the Center for Collaborative Change.
Other prominent participants in today's Summit include David Kennedy, founder of Operation Ceasefire; Samuel De Maio, director of the Newark Police Department; Connie Rice, national civil rights attorney who advises police departments across the country; Todd Clear, dean of the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice; and Rutgers professor Dr. Rod Brunson. The full program is can be found at http://newarkchange.org/projects/community-police-relations/.
"Helping bring these voices to Newark is part of the outreach and education we need in our city if we are to chip away at the long-simmering mistrust between police and distressed communities," Lewis said. "We need to connect law enforcement to community development if we are to make a lasting difference."
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised $12 billion to build or rehab 289,000 affordable homes and develop 46 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC support has leveraged nearly $40 billion in total development activity. In the Greater Newark area, LISC has invested $77 million, which has leveraged $312 million and resulted in more than 370,000 square feet of commercial and community space, and more than 1,500 affordable homes. Additionally, LISC has provided technical assistance and capacity-building support for many of the region's CDCs and other community-based nonprofits. For more information, visit www.lisc.org.
About LISC's Community Safety Initiative
LISC's Community Safety Initiative (CSI) helps local police and community partners achieve marked improvements in safety, economic vitality, and neighborhood health. CSI has spurred double-digit reductions in crime in neighborhoods across the country, paving the way for more than $265 million in real estate development in neighborhoods where crime previously deterred investment. For more, visit www.lisc.org/csi.
Rhonda A. Lewis, Executive Director
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SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation