Program: City-Wide "March On Crime" Parade
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The theme of this parade is: "Celebrating Diversity, Bringing it All Together." Civic and neighborhood groups, churches, schools, elected officials, businesses and corporations, all area law enforcement agencies, municipal agencies and citizens from all over Houston come together to march the streets of downtown Houston against crime. Representative from the Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian and Asian communities serve as parade marshals.
2. When was the program created and why?
The Citywide "March on Crime" parade was created in March, 1998, to raise awareness that fighting crime is the responsibility of every citizen.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
The success of this program proves that tremendous benefits can be derived from the police department and citizens working together to foster good relationships between them, developing crime prevention strategies and building bridges of understanding between communities. Based on the response from every segment of the community, the citizens of Houston demonstrated that they are anxious to join forces with the police department in support of fighting crime. This parade is one of the largest in Houston's history, with the city's extraordinary diversity in evidence from beginning to end.
4. How is the program financed?
The program is underwritten by the city, as well as by the civic, corporate and business communities of Houston.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
Three hundred entries, equating to approximately 8,000 people, participated in the parade. The Hispanic Ministers Against Crime won first place as a marching unit, with over 1,500 marchers. The Houston Ministers Against Crime won third place in the floats cagegory, and the Asian- African-American Task Force (created to promote peace between these ethnic groups) won second place in the vehicle category.
6. What are the major lessons learned that would be helpful for others trying to implement a similar program?
The major lessons to be learned from this program are: (1) citizens want to participate in making their neighborhoods safe; and (2) police and citizens working together is the greatest deterrent to criminal activity.
7. What specific advice do you have for mayors interested in replicating a program such as yours?
Create partnerships with every segment of the community and encourage citizens' participation in crime prevention at the neighborhood level.For more information, please contact:
Yvette Chargois, Assistant Director
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352