Building Better Neighborhoods to launch 2014 project with prime time special Friday night

CLEVELAND - NewsChannel 5's station initiative Building Better Neighborhoods will kick off it's 2014 project with a prime time special to air March 21 at 8:30 PM.

This year's project is called Building Better Neighborhoods: Keeping You Safe Where You Live and centers on NewsChannel 5 partnering with 25 different cities, towns, villages and townships.

The special program will explain this initiative that starts with 25 cities that were chosen at random from the 5 counties that surround Cleveland. They include Bay Village, Maple Heights, Cleveland Heights and Chagrin Falls from Cuyahoga County; Avon, Elyria, Oberlin, LaGrange and Columbia Township from Lorain County; Eastlake, Painesville, Wickliffe, Mentor-On-The-Lake, and Madison of Lake County; Peninsula, Barberton, Stow, Macedonia, and Copley from Summit County; and Brunswick, Wadsworth, Spencer, Lodi, and Montville Township of Medina County.

NewsChannel 5 anchors will visit each community over the course of 25 days to showcase what each is about, what is interesting, what is quirky, and what makes each a great place to live, work or visit.

Each community will then select 5 streets or neighborhoods to be brought together for a community Safety Forum or to help set up neighborhood block watches. NewsChannel 5 will identify these 5 streets or neighborhoods on the day each is featured and then the whole community will get a chance to vote on newsnet5.com/BBN for one of these streets or neighborhoods to become the NewsChannel 5 "featured" neighborhood.

Our anchors, Leon Bibb, Lee Jordan, Danita Harris, Chris Flanagan and Tracy Carloss, will then return to each city, village or township later this spring to showcase the winning neighborhood and put a Building Better Neighborhood sign marking that street or neighborhood.

The project is not just about safety. It is also about bringing back a sense of community to our neighborhoods. It is about connecting residents with their safety forces, city officials and each other. As part of the project, NewsChannel 5 has partnered with the free, private social network app, Nextdoor . This app connects neighbors to each other by utilizing the technology we use today. The app also allows neighbors to organize events, report suspicious activity or ask for help or for recommendations. It is on the web and on iPhone and Android devices.

The project also has the endorsement of the Ohio Attorney General's office, who is charged with protecting Ohio families. The AG's office investigates scams and deceptive practices. They can also help Ohioans who become victims of identity theft and can help folks recover compensation if they become a victim of crime. 

"We wanted to be part of this frankly because it's such a great idea. The idea of focusing on communities, what private citizens can do themselves working with police, that relationship," said Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General.

He added, "We advocate for consumers. We get about 30,000, if you can believe that, about 30,000 calls every year from people who believe they've been ripped off."

Watch the Building Better Neighborhoods Special Friday, March 21 at 8:30 p.m. on NewsChannel 5!

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