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Duluth Police Dept

Duluth Community Safety Initiative Wins National Award



Duluth, MN (September 28, 2011): Innovative community safety efforts that have reduced crime, eliminated blight and renewed economic vitality in Duluth neighborhoods are being recognized on Wednesday with a national MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award.

The Duluth Police Department and two local organizations were selected for first-place recognition from among 700 applicants for one of 10 MetLife Foundation honors. Duluth LISC, Neighborhood Housing Services and West Duluth Community Development Corporation (formerly SVCNDA) led the creation of the Community Safety Initiative, which unites residents and police officers to improve neighborhood safety and reduce crime.


A public award celebration and press conference will be held on Wednesday, September 28, at 2:00pm at the Central Hillside Community Center at 12 E. Fourth Street in Duluth. Mayor Don Ness, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, Grant Piller, Senior Partner, and Grant Prentice, Investment Advisor Representative, both of New England Financial, a MetLife company, and others are scheduled to speak. Members of the media are invited to attend.

“Collaboration between community-based groups and police departments can reduce crime, stimulate housing and other development, and improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “The partnership between these Duluth organizations is an exemplary model for groups nationwide facing similar challenges and opportunities. We are pleased to join LISC in recognizing and sharing their impressive work.”

“The Community Safety Initiative has made an impact on Duluth neighborhoods that is seen and felt by residents every day,” added Pam Kramer, executive director of Duluth LISC. “We are proud to join MetLife Foundation in celebrating the great strides we’ve made in improving the safety and well-being of our communities.”

As a first-place award winner, the Duluth Community Safety Initiative will receive $30,000 to advance its joint public safety activities. The award is funded by MetLife Foundation – which has long supported neighborhood-based efforts to tackle crime and improve safety – and is administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to recognize community-police partnerships that have reduced crime and spurred positive development in low-income communities.

NHS Duluth, West Duluth CDC and the Duluth Police Department are all key players in the At Home in Duluth Collaborative, a coalition of organizations working together on affordable housing, blight removal, streetscape improvements, storefront renovations and other neighborhood issues with facilitation by LISC. By tackling crime problems together in that context, they have spurred the acquisition of major nuisance properties and improved blighted commercial corridors. They have also created new tools to promote community safety. For example, they collectively advocated for the adoption of a Crime Free Multi-Housing Ordinance and coordinated a "blight team" that is improving citywide response to vacant property issues. Crime prevention meetings have drawn thousands of residents and business owners together to discuss how they can improve the safety of their neighborhoods.

“Partnerships are critical to our policing model,” said Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. “It is through relationships with residents that we can best serve their needs. The input we have collected during the Community Safety Initiative’s four years has been tremendously helpful and resulted in many successful new projects.”

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