Many major cities in current societies suffer from gangs intimidating local people and spreading crime in the neighborhood. The most common reaction one can observe is a crackdown of local law enforcement on those gangs in order to restore the peace. The question we may ask our self today if this approach works. I dare to say it does not. On the contrary, when a gang (or more than just a gang) move into the neighborhood their prime objective is to control and possess the territory. Any individual or organization originally there is either intimidated to leave, pay tribute or ultimately eliminated. Of course from the view of local law enforcement and politicians it is obvious this deviant behavior should be dealt with… with the aforementioned result.
I like to suggest a different approach. Before or during the initial stage of infiltration of criminal elements into the neighborhood I strongly suggest we empower the local population so they will not give way but show resilience to the criminal gangs and individuals. For this it is necessary to support and develop strong ties and bonds between the locals and the neighborhood; make the local population aware of their own fears and learn how to deal with those fears. Furthermore, town officials should be visible and easy to get in touch with to show and enhance confidence. When the local population dares to speak out and act accordingly (no playing dumb or deaf but assertive) with strong support of town officials, things may turn a different way.
Of course, we have a long way to go as the Americas differ from Europe for instance regarding the nature, intensity of the crimes and the ways crimes are dealt with. Still, I have a strong feeling criminals will not as easy gain a foothold in a community when the local people know how to break silence and by being assertive at the first sign of criminal intrusion. One thing is crucial to succeed:
Unconditional active and passive support by local officials and politicians!
The Rule of the Street – New School may save us millions of dollars just by being proactive.