Anyone that knows me, or has read enough of my rants knows that in addition to being an advocate for stricter code enforcement and harsh punishment for violent (and potentially violent) criminals, I am an ardent voice for stronger neighborhoods.
Walking with Little Dottie on Dottie's walks for several years, and participating in the twice annual neighborhood cleanups, I have always wished that somehow the works would pay off in cleaner streets.
I advocated an adopt-a-block program for Millville, especially Center City. I have discussed this at length with commissioner Dale Finch, and more recently with Ed Einhaus of AHOME. I asked how do we get the residents involved, and the local churches, and other groups.
It all came together this past Saturday. The Greater Millville Ministerial Association has a new member, Paster Elizabeth Nees of St. Paul's Lutheran on 3rd and Mulberry. This is her first church as a pastor, she hales from Wisconsin. When she came to Millville, she insisted on living in the community that her church serves. She located in Center City.
Elizabeth began attending local meetings, the CCNG, CiPAC, Weed and Seed, looking for ways to get involved.
Thanks to Ed and Dale, Elizabeth took this idea and ran with it. she presented it to the GMMA, and has taken the lead on creating an extensive network of churches and community groups in the One Block at a Time initiative.
The various churches adopted a block, and showed up en masse on Saturday to do a major cleanup. About 250 people showed up, wearing Adopt a Block tee-shirts.I only wish that I didn't have to work that day.
From all reports, local neighborhood residents saw what was happening and joined in - which is the main thrust of the program.
What does this have to do with crime? When residents care about their neighborhood enough to maintain it, it sends a message to the criminal element that we care about our street. They will tend to migrate to other areas where they will be less conspicuous. It does work, and the concept is to clean up Millville, one block at a time.