Many Charlotte communities suffer and do not feel safe from violence that occurs in their community. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s 2015 statistics show that violent crime was up 18%, murders up 36%, robberies up 23%, and aggravated assaults up 16%. This rise in violent crime is not spread evenly throughout the city but centralized in a handful of neighborhoods. These are lower-wealth communities with large African American and Latino populations.
What is a Harm Free Zone (HRZ)?
Systemic oppression, institutionalized racism and implicit bias are social harms that detrimentally deter communities of color from achieving their full potential. The byproducts of these societal harms include higher arrest and conviction rates, mass incarceration of African-Americans and Latinos, as well a lower sense of worth in communities of color.
Negative community norms dominate in neighborhoods impacted by these types of social harms. The resulting internalized oppression destroys community trust, minimizes open dialog between neighbors, stifles community investment, and deprives the residents of the vision and hope needed for positive community development.
Creating a Harm Free Zone is a long-term theory of change, built in multiple phases to ensure we have the infrastructure and community trust required to maintain the zones. The Harm Free Zone project will foster change in three domains: individual healing, community norms, and institutional behavior.
Dr. David Campt
SAFE has retained Dr. David Campt, a renowned consultant on race relations to start engaging Charlotteans in the long-range planning. Building upon existing innovative models from other places, Charlotte will build a Harm Free Zone (HFZ) that helps prevent violence and supports community members to learn to cope and address the reality and the perceptions of violence.
Listen to an interview with Dr. Campt here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pdan/2016/07/26/agitator-radio