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Safe Community Program

The need to strengthen cooperation and communication between the population, police and local authorities is becoming increasingly important. There is a conception in the society of joint responsibility for the safety and quality of life in communities. Ukraine has a legislative background for developing a strategy for police interaction with the population and the participation of local governments in providing and supporting law enforcement activities. Still, we lack practical experience and understanding of what resources and tools to use, so this interaction had a positive result for all participants in the process. These aspects are fundamental at the community level. They need to be put into practice, especially in the context of reforms (police reductions, decentralization, and community unification), high expectations from residents, and the need to find practical approaches to safety problems.

According to the results of a nationwide survey by the "I. Kucheriv Democratic initiatives” foundation, safety (67%) took third place after freedom and justice, among the value priorities for Ukrainians. In the Ukrainian reality, local government, police, and community leaders may have different ideas about ensuring citizens’ safety. For instance, the authorities set surveillance cameras in the city; the police demonstrate high crime detection rates. Still, people are afraid to go outside in the evening, leave their homes without paid security, etc. That is why it is essential to know what worries the city residents and plan law enforcement activities according to their needs. Experience of European countries, the USA, Canada, and others showed that a safe and comfortable life is impossible without planning and development policy. Decisions are made based on a comprehensive analysis of the situation in a given area, opinions, and needs of people living there. The population should be involved as much as possible to establish development plans and make decisions.

Today, the assessment of safety problems (criminogenic situation) mainly includes only the statistics of law enforcement agencies and officials' perceptions of work in the direction of public order and security. But such a vision does not always coincide with the real problems and needs of the local community. So the question is - is the diagnosis of the city's safety problems and needs effective?

Achieving significant changes in most cities helps to unite citizens around the problem. A shared insight of needs and opportunities to meet them becomes the spark that motivates action and development. To this effect, people need to be encouraged to create platforms for discussion and their cooperation in developing a safe environment. Every city has problems, but every town must have a dream. Enabling citizens to see a "safe city of the future" will allow them to focus on the factors that prevent its creation and join in their solution. It is essential that everyone, regardless of the place of work (police officer, local government official, entrepreneur, banker, builder, student), understands their important role in developing a safe city.

Indicators of security in the community according to the program:

  • Physical security - safe streets, low crime rate, surveillance cameras on the roads, mobile patrols, illuminated streets, and recreation areas, marked pedestrian crossings, set traffic lights, speed limiters on the roadway, fencing the highway from the pedestrian area, accessible self-defense courses for children and adults;
  • Medical safety - affordable and qualitative medical care in the community, available vaccinations against COVID, low rate incidence;
  • Psychological security - available programs of psychological support, counteraction to bullying, systematic work of social services;
  • Safety of women - shelters for victims of domestic violence, available psychological services for affected, availability of self-defense courses, free legal aid;
  • Ecological safety - control of ecologically harmful production in the community, protection of green zones, quality control of drinking water, availability of de-ironing stations;
  • Youth safety - a sufficient number of extracurricular educational and leisure facilities, cases of selling alcohol and tobacco to minors;
  • Inclusion - ramps, benches, parking for prams, comfortable pedestrian areas, and recreation areas.

As part of the program, a series of activities will be conducted to identify security issues in the municipal community, evaluate police work, and identify residents’ interest in participating in community security processes. Based on the project results, a security map of Ukraine will be created, which will display the security rating at the national level with several expert recommendations.

Project components:

  • Holding a competition for participation in the project among the communities of Ukraine;
  • Holding a survey among the population of municipal pilot communities;
  • Statistical data collection from the police on the crime level and comparison with the results of the survey in the municipal pilot communities;
  • Analysis of municipal programs for the availability of measures to increase the level of safety in the community (municipal guard, street surveillance cameras, road safety, street lighting, pedestrian crossings, etc.);
  • Provide recommendations to local municipalities to increase security efficiency, as well as to cooperate with police and civil society organizations.

The implementation of the Program until 2025 will enable:

  • to reduce the number of crimes against life and health of citizens;
  • to increase the level of detection of severe types of crimes;
  • to provide a high level of public order and security;
  • to improve the effectiveness and timeliness of law enforcement agencies in responding to allegations and reports of citizens about crimes, search and detention of criminals as soon as possible;
  • to improve the prevention of crimes among minors and youth;
  • to restrict illegal weapon and drug trafficking;
  • to provide the safety of the property of natural and legal persons;
  • to involve citizens in active law enforcement activities in the city;
  • to improve the public trust level in the authorities.

Results of the project – 2017conducted by Berezan Community Foundation

Charitable organization Berezan Community Foundation with ISAR Unity and Kyiv International Institute of Sociology surveyed Berezan residents on the community’s urgent needs for three years in a row (2015-2017). The survey helped to offer the community those quality projects and programs that people need and that change their lives for the better. A clear understanding of the need allows the rational use of limited resources. To obtain reliable information on these issues, we asked different people (about 400 residents were interviewed each year) to fill out an anonymous questionnaire. At the same time, a similar survey was conducted by the Community Foundations of Ukraine. So we have the opinion of residents about the city, but we can also compare how Berezan looks against other towns.

Polling data (June-November 2017) conducted by our Foundation with ISAR Unity and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology showed that 29% of Berezan residents feel the danger of living in their city. Of the 307 surveyed city residents, 11% in 2016 appealed to law enforcement agencies. Assessing satisfaction with the results of the appeal of two (on a five-point scale), 31% of respondents stressed the need to improve the work of law enforcement agencies as a matter of priority. Also, in analyzing the polling data of 2015-2016, we highlighted the increasing trend of dissatisfaction with the security and work of law enforcement agencies, which indicates the lack of democratic relations between law enforcement agencies and the public sector in the community of Berezan, Kyiv region.

At the general meeting of the Foundation in September 2017, we discussed the security situation in the city. The foundation had an experience of cooperating with police representatives:

  • since 2014, under the program "Legal education of youth" which aims to promote democratic values, increase the level of legal awareness of children and youth, the formation of legal understanding of minors, in particular, their views on the laws, which have been successfully implemented in educational institutions Berezan;
  • On the 20th of June, 2017 in Berezan, the Foundation held a round table together with the Ukrainian Forum of Philanthropists with the participation of government officials and police officers of Berezan, Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, and Baryshevskyi districts of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Kyiv region on the topic: "Public collection of cash donations and the fight against fraud.

There was a minor experience of cooperation on other projects of the Foundation. But unfortunately, there was no joint, systematic, purposeful work with law enforcement agencies at that time.

The result of the meeting was a conclusion that one of the essential tasks in Ukraine is to build a legal, social, democratic state, the main principles of which should be the rule of law and respect for human rights and freedoms. The guarantee of successful development of society is knowledge and observance of the state’s laws, the state’s mutual responsibility before the citizen and the citizen before the state, legal education: respect for the Constitution, laws of Ukraine, national symbols. Legal education and upbringing are effective means of preventing crimes and offenses by minors, which form the basis and help adolescents overcome the first difficulties of life. It is an element of the consciousness structure, which expresses the individual’s attitude to the world around him and the real-life relations of the subject and his activities, in which consciousness is born. Based on the participants’ opinion, It’s not enough systemic knowledge in the community and legal education (legal worldview). So it was decided to start systematic work in the community, starting with kindergarten, school, vocational school, youth leaders, business representatives, research on community needs for law enforcement, plan and implement joint steps to remove barriers to democratization between law enforcement the community sector.

Started systematic and large-scale work on building and developing an open and democratic society based on human rights and establishing partnerships between law enforcement officials and the community of Berezan and Baryshiv district. An action plan has been developed:

  • to present results of the poll of the community in 2015-2017 on the activities of law enforcement agencies in the city and Ukraine in general;
  • to hold public discussions "Removing barriers to the democratization of relations between law enforcement agencies and the public sector in the community of Berezan";
  • to build by joint efforts "The tree of problems of the cooperation of the community and law enforcement agencies";
  • to build a plan of work and joint measures to remove barriers to the democratization of relations between law enforcement agencies and the public sector in the community of Berezan for 2018-2020.
  • to continue a series of holding round tables on the topic: "Public collection of cash donations and the fight against fraud" with business representatives;
  • to acquaint children and youth with the profession of a police officer;
  • to conduct literacy training in an engaging, interactive, playful way so that children can memorize vital rules;
  • to conduct lessons in legal education of the youth using preventive methodologies to combat crime and prevent the involvement of the young people in computer games that lead to self-destruction, including the "blue whale";
  • to conduct KVN humor show for high school students, "We are the future of the rule of law";
  • to conduct an introductory tour of youth leaders with the work of the Berezan police department and a round table on "Police towards youth" with the leading police sector.

To implement the action plan, at the end of 2017, the Foundation applied for grant support from the International Renaissance Foundation and won financial support for systemic activities that covered all parts of the community, from children to adults, helped to establish partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the community of different ages of Berezan and Baryshiv district; prevention of offenses and crimes; building and developing an open and democratic society based on human rights. The project was implemented in cooperation with the Kyiv Regional State Administration, the Main Directorate of the National Police of the Kyiv Region, the Berezan City Council, and the Baryshivka District Council.

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