CLEVELAND - Building Better Neighborhoods, a NewsChannel5 initiative, will kick off its newest project on March 24 with anchors Danita Harris, Chris Flanagan, Lee Jordan, Leon Bibb and Tracy Carloss visiting 25 communities in 25 days in five separate Northeast Ohio counties.
Each community is participating in our program, Building Better Neighborhoods: Keeping You Safe Where You Live.
NewsChannel5 has partnered with the mayors, city managers or trustees and their police departments in each of these cities, towns, villages or townships as part of this program. They in turn have identified five streets or neighborhoods to come together for a Safety Forum or to be trained to be Block Watch neighborhoods.
Starting March 24 and for the following 25 weekdays, NewsChannel5 will showcase each of our featured communities. We will highlight what's unique and what's quirky about each community and what makes it a great place to live or visit.
Our anchors will broadcast live from each city starting with Good Morning Cleveland and then throughout our broadcast day. During Live on 5 (from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.) and NewsChannel5 at 6 p.m., our featured stories will run and we will then announce which streets or neighborhoods in that community have been chosen to take part in the community meeting.
The whole city, town, village or township will then have the opportunity to vote on newsnet5.com on which of those will become the NewsChannel 5 "featured" street or neighborhood. We will then revisit each community and put a Building Better Neighborhoods sign on the "featured" street or neighborhood later this spring.
The goal of this project is to enable people to get more involved in their communities, get to know each other, their elected officials and their police officers. This project does not just focus on crime but also allows neighbors to connect to their communities and get to know each other. But police officials all agree the best deterrent to crime is for everyone to get involved and be proactive by working together to make sure the community where you live is as safe as it can be.
Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley said, "The best thing any resident can do is to know their neighbors, know what their neighbors routine is so to speak, that way they know what is suspicious in their neighborhood and they can report that suspicious activity to us. We would rather have our officers respond time and time again to a report of suspicious activity and after its investigated have it wind up being nothing then to respond once to the home of a family that's now the victim of a burglary and we find out through the investigation, that someone saw something but they didn't report it."
Maple Heights Mayor Jeffrey Lansky agrees. "We like Gladys Kravitz's. We love them because again someone like myself, and I do get out in the city a lot, but we can't be everywhere. Our police can't be everywhere. So we depend on our residents to give us feedback whether it's good or bad."
To help do this, NewsChannel 5 has partnered with the free app Nextdoor . It is a private social network just for a neighborhood. It was launched nationwide over two years ago and allows neighbors to communicate with each other to build strong, safer neighborhoods.
Nextdoor's goal is to bring back a sense of community by utilizing the technology we use today. Neighbors can use the app to organize events, report suspicious activity, ask for help like having someone pick up their newspaper while they are away, or make recommendations like for a reliable plumber.
The project also has the endorsement of the Ohio Attorney General's office. They are helping with the project by making a speaker available for communities meetings and/or sending pamphlets on how this state office can help residents. They work to resolve consumer issues. They investigate scams and can assist if someone should become a target of identity theft. They can also help people recover compensation if they become a victim of crime.
Look for Newschannel 5 anchors to visit your community, 25 cities in 25 days, starting March 24. We will highlight the entire project in a half hour prime time special, Friday, March 21 at 8:30 p.m. on NewsChannel 5.
The communities involved include Parma, Bay Village, Chagrin Falls, Maple Heights, and Cleveland Heights in Cuyahoga County; Avon, Oberlin, Columbia Township, LaGrange, and Elyria from Lorain County; Painesville, Mentor-On-The-Lake, Wickliffe, Eastlake, and Madison in Lake County; Peninsula, Stow, Barberton, Copley, and Macedonia of Summit County; and Brunswick, Lodi, Spencer, Montville Township and Wadsworth of Medina County.