how to: effect change #3

Some efforts in our neighborhood have been officially sponsored by our civic association, while others have been done quietly. What I mean here is that, in order to get things done, you have to learn discretion. Each situation calls for a different tactic, and, if it isn’t working, change your tactic.

3. Create a core group that isn’t afraid.

Most people won’t get involved. Everyone has to decide life priorities as it’s necessary for sanity, but, surprisingly, most won’t even bother about what’s happening in front of their house. Whether they are afraid of the situation itself (e.g. drug dealers), or of the work involved to improve the situation, a core group that can overcome these fears to achieve a greater good will be small. Depressingly small. But, if you have even five committed neighbors that are ready to support each other (and the cause at hand), you can make change.

In 2008, there were a few well-established drug houses which were connected with each other. After some frustrating interactions with police, various members of our core group secured meetings with the Chief of Police and our local Commonwealth’s Attorney. We secured the attention of local law enforcement, and were able to have an investigation opened. Our core group was dedicated to shutting these houses down. We fed information to police for two years. They were able to raid all of the involved houses, and send the ring leaders to jail. Everyone in the neighborhood has benefitted, but very few have the courage and perseverance to achieve the end goal.

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