A Simple Plan to Save America – Part 2

Americans want families to be safe in their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the statistics show that crime, violence, drugs, sex trafficking, mass shootings, and murder rates are increasing. Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. So, what can city leaders and local organizations do?


A Simple Plan to Save America

As discussed in Part 1 of “A Simple Plan to save America,” we need to involve citizens if we are going to create safe neighborhoods and communities. Crime increases as fear of becoming a victim increases. Americans who feel powerless have armed themselves with 400,000,000 guns, which tells us, we need a new strategy to reduce fear.

City leaders and non-profit groups should get together to consider establishing a training center for “Neighborhood Safety Experts” who look like and speak the language of the community. Trained citizens bring neighbors together to reduce fear and social isolation to improve neighborhood health and safety. There are many benefits to strengthening neighbor support for each other:

  1. Involvement reduces social isolation. When neighbors know and trust each other, they take charge of the kids on the block and put a check and balance on negative juvenile behavior and gang violence.
  2. Involved neighbors can reduce the high cost of juvenile delinquency, graffiti, arson, and smash and grab juveniles.
  3. Improving communication helps neighbors become informed and less vulnerable.
  4. Strong family and neighborhood support help prevent drug abuse and child sex trafficking.
  5. Crime, violence, and shootings create distrust, anxiety, and anger and can create mental and physical health problems.
  6. When people know and trust a “Neighborhood Safety Expert,” they share information they would not tell the police, such as identifying drug dealers, child abusers, neglected kids, and illegal activities.
  7. Neighbors can be encouraged to work with newly released prisoners, immigrants, or inmates to help them assimilate into the neighborhood, reducing fear of the unknown.
  8. Involved neighbors with support from “Neighborhood Safe Experts” can reduce the need for additional police, saving taxpayers money.
  9. Citizens will feel safer and less likely to be suspicious of neighbors or buy guns for protection.
  10. Seniors can be encouraged to get involved to babysit, set up activities for youth or help with homework.
  11. When “Neighborhood Safety Experts” create a network of neighborhood leaders, police can send criminal descriptions to leaders who can contact all neighbors. Swift communication catches criminals faster and will reduce illegal activities.
  12. Neighborhood involvement creates new leaders at the grassroots who may become leaders on community boards, city committees, and politics.
  13. When we strengthen families and neighborhoods, citizens become more independent as they move away from government control.
  14. Support and education help citizens strengthen American democracy as they become involved, informed, and responsible for family and neighborhood safety.

As a former “Neighborhood Safety Expert” for 30 years, I’ve seen the power of “we the people” to make neighborhoods safe. Involvement creates a healthy balance between neighbors and police. When neighbors work together and take ownership, they decide what they will tolerate. Cities will save money, families will receive vital support, and everyone will live in safer, healthier cities.

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Stephanie L. Mann
Stephanie L. Mannhttps://safekidsnow.com/
Stephanie Mann co-authored, Alternative to Fear: Guidelines to Safer Neighborhoods,” which helped launch the national “Neighborhood Watch” Program. Within 2 1/2 years, involved residents in her community (17,500 residents) decreased crime 48%, WITHOUT a local police department. Mann worked as a community leader, neighborhood organizer, county coordinator, state consultant and authored, “Safe Homes, Safe Neighborhoods: Stopping Crime Where You Live” (Nolo Press 1993) In 2010, while working in Richmond CA, with “Mother’s Against Senseless Killings,” Mann saw people too scared to be involved or report crimes. She wrote, “The Adopt-A-Block Guidebook,” with an easy-to-follow guide for existing groups and “My first steps to a safe neighborhood” for citizens. These booklets give individuals and groups the tools to reach out and bring people together to help each other. Stephanie started a homeless men’s support group while working with “The Mary Ann Wright Foundation” in Oakland CA. She recognized the need to support children at an early age and wrote, “Street Safe Kids: 10 Step Guide for Teens and Adults” (which has been used in after-school programs) to help youth grow strong from within to develop self-esteem and stay centered. Book available on amazon.com The Safe Kids Now National website states, “Every child needs a healthy family and neighborhood to stay safe.” In partnership with the CARR Foundation, a binder, “Safe Neighborhoods: Access to a Healthy Community,” was created for city leaders to make neighborhoods safer for families and neighborhoods. Stephanie’s books strengthen families and can decrease the social isolation that fuels bullies, domestic violence, abuse, drugs, gangs, and other destructive behaviors.”


  1. I appreciate your comment, Adia, and your work to empower youth. It isn’t easy for people to overcome fear. We must encourage churches, community groups, Rotary Clubs, and other social groups to promote neighborhood involvement. Neighborhood competitions and awarding prizes like trees, benches, and play equipment can help motivate neighbors to take action. This week, I am posting a video on http://www.safekidsnow.com/safe-kids-now-show/ with Dr. Barbara Williams. She has successfully encouraged churches and community groups to support the Adopt-A-Block program. Success breeds success!

  2. Thanks, Stephanie, for expressing your heart in saving the future of America through these clear and actionable steps. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their part in protecting America by starting right in their own backyard and neighborhoods. I hope we can create a movement of vested individuals who inspire the nation to make this positive change. It only takes a few to make a world of difference. Thank you for reminding us of that and for never giving up on your passion for strengthening families and helping our youth thrive. God Bless!