Having logged countless hours of neighborhood advocacy in our household, I have to say “shame on you, Bunny.” In our very up close and personal experiences with neighborhood activities, quality of life issues, development (and lack thereof) and processes, it is very difficult to get volunteers to commit and stay committed to any number of projects and issues. Condemning an obviously helpful volunteer (or volunteers), who appears to be concerned with the “chime, grime and crime” that the Independence Avenue CID claims to want to support, will consequently deter NE residents from wanting to stick their neck out and help with development and safety issues that plague our community. Perhaps thanking them and urging a long overdue partnership between the CID and the neighborhoods (as well as the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce) would have been more apropos.
For decades, the KCPD and its leaders have supported Broken Window Theory as an overall crime deterrent. This is evident through the former and current practice and teachings of CPTED…Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. This practice has been taught and successfully supported by neighborhoods in our Northeast, and other parts of the city, for many years. Compare neighborhoods throughout Kansas City that believe in Broken Window Theory and practice CPTED, to those that don’t, and the stats, from petty to major crimes, will speak volumes. The neighborhoods that share the beliefs of KCPD are intrinsically involved in ALL aspects of advocacy, not just narrow mindedly focused on any one quality of life issue or project. Based on BWT and CPTED, you operate on a solid base and work on the little things first, thus helping to tackle the bigger things with less concentrated effort. A prime example of Broken Window Theory was displayed by the very volunteer (or volunteers) that you have condemned, by his/her/their attempt to clean up Independence Avenue; the area of Northeast that offers a buffet of illegal activity, from codes violations to prostitution and drug crimes. The same area that serves as a role model gateway into the six Northeast neighborhoods. The flags and sandwich boards that you claim have been reported, are not only violations of city code (just like permitting, transparency and other greater violations) and negatively impact the implementation of BTW and CPTED. They clog up sidewalks, obscure views, and block entrances to and from businesses, thus impacting the walkability that helps to create a safe and vibrant community, as well as cultivation of additional growth and development. What good is a business, lawful and unlawful alike, if we have no safe or viable avenue for which they can attract customers and succeed?
Given the lack of details in your editorial, I feel compelled to inform readers and residents of the Northeast. I would like to note that as far as signage violations (which you deem petty) specifically, I only found violations reported as far back as mid-March. This is not recent news. However, as late as August and September of this year, a plethora of graffiti and trash violations were reported and are in line with my defense of this volunteer; the belief and practice of Broken Window and CPTED. Given that KCPD’s belief in Broken Window remains strong through their continued implementation of CPTED, I say that whomever is reporting such violations might share a similar belief and is right on target with making our community cleaner, safer and worth valuable investment.
This leads me to the shopping local issue. While I see no lack of local shopping, perhaps more residents of the Northeast, as well as outlying neighborhoods, would be much more inclined to visit our community businesses if they were as concerned with walkability, safety and sustainable investment in the neighborhood in which they care to do business. Enticing shoppers is as simple as showing that these business owners are concerned with the same issues as the residents who work for, and desire, a greater Northeast. The status quo does not exhibit these concerns at all. Perhaps, they too, should be thanking this involved and concerned citizen.
Mrs. Michael G. Donnici