Building Better Neighborhoods: Special 1-hour presentation airs Friday night, June 27

NewsChannel5 will air a special one-hour presentation of Building Better Neighborhoods: Keeping You Safe Where You Live on Friday, June 27, from 8 PM to 9 PM.

The special will look back at a NewsChannel5 station initiative that brought 25 cities and their police departments together with residents in order to make each city a safe place to live.

NewsChannel5 partnered with 5 cities, towns or villages in the 5 counties that surround Cleveland: Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Summit and Medina. NewsChannel5 anchors Leon Bibb, Lee Jordan, Chris Flanagan, Danita Harris and Tracy Carloss then visited each city and did a report on what each has to offer residents and visitors.

As part of this project, each of these cities agreed to hold a safety forum for residents of 5 neighborhoods or help those residents form block watches. In some cases, the city held a Safety Fair for all of its residents.

Police chiefs told us time and time again, that crime prevention starts in our neighborhoods and that officers can not be everywhere and it is critical that residents help out by being the eyes and ears of the street they live on.

Wickliffe Mayor Bill Margalis said his city has had a block watch for over 30 years, but Building Better Neighborhoods helped revive that.

 "You know sometimes programs get stale over the years. But this just got everyone together. You know our police department does a great job but to have additional eyes and ears out there and they're being trained on what to call, what's suspicious and call it it, it's just been a great program," said Margalis.

Residents of each city were also given the opportunity to vote for one of the 5 neighborhoods to become NewsChannel5's Featured Neighborhood winner. NewsChannel5 anchors then went back to each of our 25 partnered cities to report live from the winning neighborhood.

Our anchors had a great time interacting with folks in those neighborhoods. As Leon Bibb said, "No matter where I went, I was struck by the fact that everyone loved where they lived and were proud of their neighborhood."

As part of this project, NewsChannel5 also partnered with the free social network app, Nextdoor which connects neighbors with each other. Police officers told us in order to have safe neighborhoods, it is imperative that neighbors also look out for each other and know each other's routines. That way, they will know if something does not seem right and when it is time to call police.

Watch Building Better Neighborhoods: Keeping You Safe Where You Live on Friday, June 27 from 8-9 p.m. on NewsChannel5.

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