Friday, April 3, 2009

CityLinks Conference

I went to a Conference last Thursday and I thought it was interesting so I wanted to share with all of you readers. I was really excited about a workshop they had about online tools, something about energizing the community using the Internet. Anyways, we basically talked about "what is a facebook?" and "is a google like a facebook?" Being the youngest person in all the hundreds at the conference, most people enjoyed it while I surfed the net on my ipod.

I was introduced to a little known Dayton website, called DaytonMostMetro which has news and events happening in Dayton. There is more cool stuff in our city than we know, so check it out for something fun to do this weekend.

BUT there was one workshop that was really interesting about SAFETY. Now this is something that I would never go to. I don't wear my seatbelt. I talk to strangers. I eat bacon. But wow, I enjoyed it. Probably because I was so surprised at how little I knew!

Chief Biehl was the first up. He talked about a lot of facts and statistics. He got down into the nitty gritty of the problem. Here are some things he talked about.
1.) Become friends with people that are watching what is going on every day in the neighborhood. This means nosy people, the elderly and law enforcement. They will know when unusual things are going on. Basically, he was trying to push for Community Involvement.
2.) The Police are limited in ability. Citizens report less than half of crimes. Police only solve about 20% of serious crimes. This only means they are solved it does not mean that the people are convicted. The two best tools police use are going after high rate offenders and keeping the forces in hot spot areas.
3.) In order to get involved in the community, you can join groups and organizations.

Common-Sense, sure, but I never thought about any of this.


The next guy was Al Freeman. He was more abstract in his presentation, but I think it had the BEST information. This guy knew what was going on!

I'll start out with my favorite part - a quote from Ghandi. "Be the change you wish to see." Be the change you wish to see. Wow... great quote. So I have an unfriendly neighborhood, then I will create a fun cookout or block party for everyone. Or decorate some trees. Or have a neighborhood sidewalk chalk contest. I like that idea a lot.

Mr. Freeman started out with "The greatest crime in this country is..... . ...... unrealized potential." Ouch Eric. Sell your T.V. So true, we are lazy bums here. Nothing to do but we sure don't fill it up with stuff that will help us long term! Back to safety.

"Start working with young children." Now I sort of work in the childcare industry right now, and I can tell you that this is not what he means. Mr. Freeman was talking about that free time we have in front of the boob tube. We all of have so much experience to share with a child. We expect that a book is going to teach a child, but in reality sharing an experience with a child is going to teach them a lot more. Do you remember anything from reading a biology textbook? Now do you remember anything from going to the zoo? Less time and way more sticks in the brain. Plus, it is fun.

"Don't always rely on incarceration." Jail does not cure most bad people. When they get out they still have experience doing bad things. Like the last quote, we need to focus on people when they are younger, so they do not grow up to do things that are bad later in life. Mobilize the older population. There are lots of older people with free time who spend it watching game shows rather than teaching children. Rather than punishment, we need to set people up for a good life.


The last guy was Barry Hall. Barry was cut short because we ran out of time, but I did get a smidgen of information from him, something that Biehl touched on. It's just a few guys doing most of the crime. I think Biehl said that there was a time when they found 10 of the 13 guys causing the most trouble, and there was so little crime, the police force was asking for something to happen! That is 10 guys. In a city. So you can see how a little can make a big difference if you apply it in the right places.

For a really interesting story on how one homeless guy cost over a million in a YEAR by not keeping an eye on him, check out Million Dollar Murry. It is only the one marked 1. so don't read it all if you don't want.


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