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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Community-based Policing: A Look to the Future of Public Safety in NYC Event, John Jay College

Nickie Phillips

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at Nov 14, 2013, 7.21.50 PM

Full Conference Agenda: Community-based Policing Conference agenda for Nov 15

About the Panelists


Michael Cram is a captain in the Philadelphia Police Department’s 26th district who, working with community members, led an effort to reduce crime through a series of measures aimed at addressing ongoing crime generating problems. The approach solicited community input as a primary means of identifying crime hot-spots and addressed broader community needs through economic development, education, culture and the arts.  Residents worked with the police department to reach goals established in each of these areas. With the support of the LISC CSI (see Julia Ryan’s bio), under the leadership of Captain Cram, the PPD collaborated with the community to renovate the Rainbow de Colores playground in north Philadelphia.  As part of a plan called Our Community, Our Ideas, the partnership reduced crime and returned control of the park to the community.

Val Demings served as the Chief of the Orlando Police Department from 2007-2011 and was the first woman to lead the department. During her tenure as head of the OPD, Chief Demings initiated a series of community-oriented, problem-solving measures in the Palms Apartments, a low-income complex with a long history of crime and disorder, including a triple homicide in July 2008.  Rather than rely solely on enforcement tactics in response to the homicides, Chief Demings held a series of meetings with the residents and based on these meetings developed a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the community’s ability to control crime and enjoy a better quality of life. Among other things, the strategy included providing entry gates for residents and police assistance in beautifying the complex grounds.  These non-enforcement activities helped build trust between the police and local residents. A major crime decrease followed, and since then, the approach pioneered by Demings has been adopted in housing complexes across Florida.

Ronald Fred is a sergeant in the Philadelphia Police Department who previously served as the community officer for the 26th district. Under the supervision of Capt. Michael Cram, he worked closely with residents to renovate the Rainbow de Colores playground. The physical renovation of the park and the close and continuous collaboration between local residents and Sgt. Fred, who was a patrol officer at the time, led to reduced crime within the park and areas surrounding it.

Allen James  is Program Manager for Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) Crown Heights, a community-based anti-violence initiative in Brooklyn. S.O.S. Crown Heights is based on the Chicago Ceasefire or CureViolence model which seeks to reduce gun violence by providing on-the-spot conflict mediation.  S.O.S Crown Heights staff, many of whom are former-offenders, utilize their knowledge of life on the streets in their peer counseling. In addition, S.O.S. Crown Heights works closely with local residents, businesses, clergy, and community organizations to promote a visible and public message against gun violence. A recent evaluation, conducted by researchers from the Center for Court Innovation and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, found that activities of S.O.S. Crown Heights have made a significant contribution to the reduction of gun violence.

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Sean Johnson is the Director of Program Marketing at the Council For Unity. Founded in Brooklyn in the 1970s, Council For Unity (CFU) brings a distinct approach to youth violence reduction. CFU recognizes that when overwhelmed by social challenges, youth may embrace a street culture with values that frequently lead to violence. CFU seeks to provide a set of alternative values based on four pillars: Family, Unity, Self-esteem and Empowerment (F.U.S.E.). Through curricula, developed over decades, via work in schools, communities, and correctional facilities and by collaborating with law enforcement, other youth organizations and businesses, Council For Unity staff work closely with youth to uncover and strengthen their positive social talents and abilities.  Research is currently in progress to examine how exposure to these curricula impact young people’s decisions and help them resist engaging in violence.

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Dr. Candace McCoy is a Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and is affiliated with the John Jay College, Department of Criminal Justice.  She is a specialist in criminal justice policy. Most recently, Dr. McCoy was principle investigator for an evaluation of Cincinnati’s Police-Community Collaborative Agreement entered into in 2002.   The collaboration, which involves the police department, the police union, advocacy groups and community organizations, led to the city’s adoption of a Community Problem-Oriented Policing (CPOP) strategy. The CPOP model involves a commitment to community input in the identification and resolution of issues related to crime and disorder.  A 2009 report by the RAND Corporation found that since the adoption of this model, crime in Cincinnati declined substantially and that perceptions of police racial profiling also declined.

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Andre T. Mitchell is Founder and Executive Director of MAN UP! Inc., a grassroots organization that began as an anti-gun violence initiative in the East New York section of Brooklyn, in 2003. Its activities have since expanded to include after-school programs, athletic leagues, and job training; and, its geographic focus has expanded to other parts of New York state. MAN UP! Inc. was recently featured in a New YorkTimes article that credits work conducted by its street outreach workers and “violence interrupters” with contributing to a 363-day period during which no shootings occurred in an area previously known for gun violence. The NYPD’s 73rd and 75th precincts are a primary focus of the organizations work. Using anti-violence methods that are consistent with the Chicago Ceasefire model, Man Up! Inc. has been awarded a substantial anti-gun violence grant from the state senate.

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Julia Ryan is the director of the Community Safety Initiative (CSI), a national program of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Headquartered in New York City, LISC is the nation’s largest community development support organization, providing financial, technical and policy assistance to local neighborhood revitalization efforts around the country. LISC’s CSI is supporting the integration of crime prevention into comprehensive community development by providing training and technical assistance in more than 20 cities and fostering national partnerships with Congressional and criminal justice leaders. The CSI Resource Center works with residents and community organizations to tackle persistent crime problems in collaboration with progressive law enforcement agencies. Such public safety partnerships that align organizing, enforcement, and community revitalization, have achieved major crime reductions across the country by replacing trouble spots with quality housing, active businesses, and safe playspaces.

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