No Eyes, Dirty Streets, Broken Windows
Why Community Groups Play an Important Role in Our Culture
The most important job of any community association, is to have an actual community! The only way to do that is to build community. The best way to do that is get people outside in an active, meaningful and friendly manner.
Not long ago people used to sit on their porches and talk to neighbors. They would stay outside gardening for hours. This is the first part of a real community; friends, neighbors and co-workers. People used to go outside and wash their sidewalks, clean their steps, gutters and even alleys. They were proud of what they owned, but more importantly, they had a chance to meet and eventually enjoy neighbors.
Captain Orlando Lilly, past commander of the Dundalk Police Precinct 12 once said at a Police Community Relations Council meeting I attended, the day of “National Night Out” had the least crime activity. According to research there were likely less crimes because more people out, more eyes on the street and a huge bonus of police being visible in communities with obvious community support.
Researchers at the National Institute for Health also said of our current times “few people spend time on the street, undermining social control and further increasing opportunity for disorderly conduct and crime”1
We live in a world of increasingly isolated youth and adults due to technology. We go to work alone in cars, work alone in cubicles and come home to all-pervasive entertainment. From video games and TV series to YouTube and Social Media. Instead of exercising, we literally sit and watch other people exercise (sports). Why go outside when the air inside is controlled to our individual taste year round? There are real people living next door to us. We must reinvigorate neighborhoods with communities if we have any hope of restoring social order.
It is an absolutely enormous feat to get people outside. We can truly use the help of C.O.P. to promote community and orderly conduct in a highly active, both directly, but equally important in a “soft” and natural indirect manner. There are no wealthy philanthropists here, only poor people who pitch in about a few dollars a year. Considering we live in the poorest, most uneducated and most underemployed part of Baltimore County, the help from the C.O.P. program is of enormous benefit.
Major functions as a C.O.P. member:
- Be a good person, proactive citizen
- Promote Police-Community Relations
- Report dangerous and suspicious activity
Even more, U.S. forest service has reported “The level of maintenance of the yard is almost like a neighborhood watch sign saying, ‘We have eyes on the street and we will say something.’”2
Every day we allow technology to take hold of our time, we’re allowing technology to destroy our entire culture in the span of a single generation. It’s so subtle, no one even sees it. As elders, parents and activists, it is our duty to ensure we interact with our neighbors for the good of all humanity.