Our view: How will your Duluth neighborhood combat crime, become safer?

Published August 11 2009 • Duluth News Tribune
For seven years, Jodi Voelker and her husband have lived in Duluth’s lower Chester Park area, near 16th Avenue East and Fifth Street. “We love this part of Duluth,” she said.

For seven years, Jodi Voelker and her husband have lived in Duluth’s lower Chester Park area, near 16th Avenue East and Fifth Street. “We love this part of Duluth,” she said.

However, over the past couple of years, crime has become an increasingly noticeable problem, things such as car break-ins, fires, drugs, loud parties and burglary attempts. Despite the challenges, Voelker and her husband aren’t looking to leave.

Rather, a week ago today, they gathered with about 40 of their neighbors as part of National Night Out, the one night a year set aside for neighbors to meet neighbors and for communities to grow stronger and to take a stand against crime.

And they did just as the News Tribune suggested in its Aug. 4 editorial, “This year, don’t just meet neighbors, rally with them.” They went beyond sharing casseroles and supporting each other. They talked seriously. And they decided their neighborhood’s most-pressing need is a citizen patrol program, something they’re now creating.

“Most of the conversations centered around the crime happening in our area,” Voelker reported to the News Tribune editorial page. “All of us are concerned.” (Anyone living in the lower Chester Park area — between about 14th Avenue East and 19th Avenue East, and from about Fourth Street to Ninth Street — can contact Voelker for more information or to join the patrol; she’s at 724-2880 or voelkerjodi@yahoo.com.)

That’s what just one Duluth neighborhood is doing. What about yours? How are you carrying the spirit of National Night Out into and through the rest of the year? Doing so is the goal of Project 365, a creation of the same national nonprofit, the National Association of Town Watch, that created National Night Out in 1984.

Working together, much can be done, even if crime is never completely purged, as we opined a week ago. Getting to know your neighbors, which creates closer communities, can help. And banding together for common causes can help even more.

Let all of Duluth know what your neighborhood is doing by contacting the News Tribune editorial page at 723-5316 or via e-mail at letters@duluthnews.com. We’ll publicize goals, encourage participation and plot progress.

And we’ll all be able to celebrate accomplishments.

Comments are closed.