|Posted by Elwin Green on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM|
Homewood saw a fresh outbreak of gun violence over the weekend.
As the chair of Block Watch Plus, these incidents push me to push forward with my idea of a campaign to get as many residents of Homewood as possible to sign a pledge that when they see suspicious or downright criminal activity, they will use the City's silent complaint form to report it.
The name of the campaign would be "10,000 Eyes." As in, "Hey you knuckleheads - 5,000 people are watching the streets, and we will report you."
For years, people have said that residents need to be more forthcoming in sharing what they know about criminal activity with the police. For years, residents have said that they considered it too risky to do so. For years, the silent complaint form has been available.
But perhaps the anonymity of the silent complaint form is not enough to make residents feel safe in reporting what they see. Perhaps residents think, "If I'm the only one to report this, the people involved will know that it's me, anyway." Perhaps residents would feel more safe if they knew that on any given occasion, there might be five or 10 other people who submit the form as well, making it harder for a criminal actor to guess who provided the police with information.
Perhaps if every household in Homewood has two silent complaint forms to start with, and can request new ones at any time - perhaps if any resident can grab one in any church, any store, any social service agency, at any moment - that can help to create a culture of responsible reporting (which, by the way, would include reporting misbehavior by police officers).
What do you think would be the pros and cons of such a campaign? How could we maximize its impact?