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Example: Safe Streets program of Topeka/Shawnee County

The Greater Auburndale Neighborhood Association in Topeka, Kansas, found a way to deal with an emerging issue before problems became greater.

In 1997, residents of the Greater Auburndale area were upset because teenagers were hanging out and skateboarding in the area park. The kids were suspected of leaving trash, spraying graffiti, and causing other vandalism as well. To deal with this problem, several neighborhood meetings were held with the angry neighbors, parents, and accused kids, along with community police and representatives from the Parks Department.

As a result of these meetings, the neighborhood underwent a significant change. A compromise was reached that led to the removal of one net on the tennis court so that kids could skateboard while neighbors could still use the court to play tennis. Several organized clean-ups took place in the park and neighbors held events for the kids. The discussions that had taken place over skateboarding in the park eventually led to the building of a separate skate park accessible to all kids in the city.