Safe Streets Now group targets problems in neighborhoods

The committee's first meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 16.
& lt;a & gt;By DENISE DICK & lt;/a & gt;
WARREN -- For months, residents have been complaining about various problems throughout city neighborhoods.
Safe Streets Now, a new committee, aims to address those problems. Twenty-five residents, appointed by the administration and ward council members, make up the committee.
Council President William Doug Franklin said come council members restarted the Safe Streets Now group, which had been active a few years ago, in response to residents' complaints voiced at several recent council meetings.
Drug houses, slums and blight and vandalism, property maintenance code violations and problem landlords and renters are some of the items group members will address.
"There will be some training and organizational restructuring we'll have to do," Franklin said.
The first meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in the council caucus room.
All of the residents involved are volunteers.
"These are people whose hearts and minds are in the right place to get involved in this," said Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd.
He stressed that the group will focus on more than just crime.
"We want to work with the citizens on anything that impacts quality of life in the neighborhoods," Novak said.
When group began
Safe Streets Now was started in 1990 in Oakland, Calif., by a woman who was frustrated with the condition of her neighborhood and the lack of success of governmental agencies to curb its decline.
The 25-member committee will assist a nine-member Safe Streets Now commission whose members are appointed by Mayor Hank Angelo and confirmed by council.
One commission member will be appointed from the police department, one will be the director of public safety and service or his designee, one will be from council, and four members would be appointed at large.
One member would be appointed from the fire department and one would be the deputy health commissioner or his designee.
Leslie Dunlap, a commission member, plans to work with the group as a voice for her neighborhood. Dunlap is a member of the North End Environmental Development, which formed last year to improve the quality of life in the North End neighborhood.
"Working with the larger group will give us greater access and quicker access to get things done," Dunlap said.
She listed problem landlords, litter and properties that are maintained as some of the issues facing her neighborhood.
Franklin acknowledged that with such a large group of people, there's a tendency for enthusiasm to wane. That's why committee meetings will be conducted in different locations throughout the city to be accessible to more people.
Alternates also will be named to fill in if members drop out.

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