National Forum Explores Ways to Prevent Crime, Violence

Article excerpt

Municipal elected officials joined national and state agencies and organizations in Washington, D.C. to learn about the best and most current programs on preventing crime and violence in cities and towns, at a forum held last week.

The National Forum on Preventing Crime and Violence covered a broad spectrum of issues and possible solutions to prevent violent crime and other acts including: community-based planning for safe schools, and how it can be applied communities across the country, the Boys' and Girls' Clubs working with youth in public housing, conflict management strategies, media violence prevention, and how the principles of crime prevention through environmental design can be incorporated into the design of public places as a matter of routine policy, and others.

During the opening plenary session, forum participants heard from a number of nationally recognized speakers including Attorney General Janet Reno, Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.).

NLC is an active member of the National Crime Prevention Coalition, sponsor of the four day forum. The coalition consists of 122 organizations seeking to spur and support citizen action against crime and violence.

Representing NLC, Maryann Mahaffey, Detroit city council president, participated in the discussion on crime issues unique to women. Mahaffey shared her experience as founder of a rape crisis center in Detroit, the first in the country connected to city government. Her remarks also focused on the need to make changes in court and legal services. Operating hours of 9 to 5 are not realistic.

Tom Werth, mayor of Rochester, Mich. and member of NLC's Human Development Steering Committee also attended the conference as did Mayor Bill Morrisette of Springfield, Ore.

Reno gave a moving presentation focusing on the need to put children first, stating that a child should be given every opportunity to develop "self respect and a feeling of purpose. …