So far, most of the problems we face are continuations from the previous year, but new ones started popping up in January. Our CLASP focus will remain on our role as a non-partisan group dedicated to encouraging and sustaining a county wide network of Neighborhood Watch leaders who share best practices, provide opportunities for skill building, and foster collaborative relationships with law enforcement and criminal justice professionals in an effort to develop a model of citizen led community policing initiatives.
Since the inception of CLASP in early 2010, we have presented more than a dozen Informational Forums dealing with many aspects of public safety, neighborhood watch, crime analysis, the criminal justice process, and funding for police services. We instituted the Watch Signs matching grant program to help neighborhoods purchase ‘big blue eye’ watch signs. In addition, we have conducted countless Neighborhood Watch Training sessions throughout Austin, communicated with APD on problematic issues and discussed the need for a defined community policing program including establishing an advisory group on community policing, and disseminated information to neighborhoods to keep them informed of how they can protect their homes, property, and families by participating in neighborhood safety activities, working collaboratively with law enforcement, and by urging elected representatives to adequately fund police services.
Board members began this New Year with a discussion of neighborhood safety and community policing with Interim Chief Manley and his staff and we look forward to continuing our conversations. We are in the process of developing Informational Forum agendas to offer topics on crime prevention, police budget needs, collaborative relationships with law enforcement and stakeholder groups, criminal justice process, and community policing, among other issues.
Watch your email for the dates and locations of the CLASP Forums beginning this Spring. If you are interested in setting up Neighborhood Watch Training for your area, please contact either CLASP at firstname.lastname@example.org or your APD District Representative at www.austintexas.gov/police.