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Crime drops when parks and recreation are provided in inner cities. But the question remains, “How do the kids travel safely from their home to the basketball court?”

They could travel on a “Safewalk.” Such a crime free linear corridor can be created by a local community to connect crime watch neighborhoods with playgrounds, stores, schools or basketball courts.

Safewalks illustration by Paul Hoffman for PlannersWeb
Illustration by Paul Hoffman for PlannersWeb

A Safewalk is simply a route which is designed to be safe, attractive, and, most importantly, used. The Safewalk might follow a sidewalk, go through an alley, cross a street, and run alongside a river. Even just three blocks is enough to start a Safewalk.

Key to the Safewalk concept is community input. Residents and shopowners are central to successfully planning and maintaining a Safewalk. But as a planning commissioner you can help get the ball rolling by introducing neighborhood groups to the idea of Safewalks, and, with assistance from your staff, helping residents pull together the resources needed to implement a Safewalk project.

A Safewalk will stand as a symbol that residents have taken a stand against fear, drugs, and crime, and are “taking back” their neighborhood. On a more practical level, the Safewalk will provide opportunities for kids once again to bike to their school, for seniors to walk to the neighborhood store, and for neighbors to make their streets places where they can simply talk, walk, and enjoy being outdoors. …

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