The Brightwood Civic Group created a new public safety initiative, which it hopes will place more watchful eyes throughout the neighborhood.
The Brightwood Public Safety Committee, which originally focused on the areas of Woodland and Shadeland avenues, will expand and incorporate a larger portion of the neighborhood.
According to Diane Annis-Dixon, president of the BCG, the original committee was extremely successful, and played a role in the arrest of two suspects in the murder of Mark Barry, a former Northside firefighter who was killed in the area in 2010 while walking his dog.
Additionally, a series of security cameras were installed on Woodland Avenue by City Council President Darlene Harris’ office. The Brightwood Public Safety Committee, in conjunction with Harris’ security cameras, helped lead police to the suspects in Barry’s murder. “Had we never had the block watch, that [murder] might never have been resolved,” Annis-Dixon said.
Joe Brown and Artice Coleman will coordinate the new Public Safety Committee. Brown emphasized the importance of community involvement in the project. The Brighton Public Safety Committee, an expansion of the original Woodland/Shadeland Blockwatch, met for the first time on Tuesday, and Brown expressed hope that this new group will be more accessible to all interested members of the community.
Ideally, Brown explained, the Public Safety Committee will become a forum where “everyone who wants to get involved can get involved.”
In order to make this possible, Brown added, the committee will now meet at a variety of times and locations throughout Brightwood, allowing those with strict work commitments a greater flexibility.
“I’d like everyone who wants to be involved to become the eye on our community,” said Brown.
Brown also expressed an interest in partnering with neighborhoods like Brighton Heights to create a larger area of protection in the future. These hopes were echoed by Annis-Dixon, who conveyed her interest in improving Brightwood’s image as a neighborhood.
“We live in a great neighborhood with a few bad people,” said Brown. “It’s all of our responsibility to improve [the area’s] safety.”
The ultimate goal of BCG’s new initiative is to improve public safety, and expand the territory that currently benefits from citizen involvement.
“If we improve a few areas like Woodland [Avenue], but the rest fall short, have we really succeeded?” said Annis-Dixon.
Francesca Fenzi is a student at Carnegie Mellon University.