Project Safe Neighborhoods Launches CitizenStrong-Durham

Jul. 12, 2014 @ 01:09 PM

With National Night Out (NNO) 2014 just a month away, Durham Police Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Unit has launched a new awareness campaign called CitizenStrong-Durham.  The goal of the campaign is to raise residents’ awareness of easy-to-implement strategies that citizens can utilize to decrease the likelihood of their property being stolen and, even more important, incidents of violent crime.

Over the course of the campaign, CitizenStrong-Durham will highlight two overarching themes --   communication and security.  The campaign will encourage residents to get know their neighbors, call 911 to report suspicious activity, lock their homes and vehicles and secure legal firearms in the home.  The CitizenStrong-Durham campaign will include billboard messaging, opinion columns, bus advertisements and Partners Against Crime (PAC) and NNO neighborhood coordinator promotions. 

A CitizenStrong-Durham billboard was erected July 7 in the 4300 block of North Roxboro Road. The billboard features six residents who partner with the Durham Police Department in various capacities from volunteering for PSN Community Response canvasses to participating in DPD Juvenile Call-ins to engaging the faith community in crime prevention activities.

“When residents perform even the simplest safety strategies, their actions can help to significantly reduce violence and the potential for gang activity in our city,” says PSN Coordinator Jennifer Snyder.   “I felt it important to recognize the public safety efforts of the six residents featured on the billboard who support PSN. Hopefully other residents will be inspired and motivated by their actions and community spirit.”

The six residents featured on the new billboard are:

-- Katushka Olave is a pastoral associate at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church who advocates for the needs of the Latino parishioners. In addition to serving as the church’s DPD liaison, Olave is also an active volunteer for North Carolina Latino Coalition, Durham Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods, and the Durham County Health Department Care Review Team.

-- Ralph Thompson is the executive director of Durham Emergency Chaplains, Inc.  As a Public Safety Chaplain, Thompson ministers to law enforcement officers, medics, fire fighters and emergency communicators and works by their side to care for people in crisis. He is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and Bethesda Ruritan Club.

-- Patti Cloninger is a veteran community volunteer who serves on the Durham CrimeStoppers Board. Cloninger has an extensive history as a Partners Against Crime facilitator, PSN Community Response volunteer and advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

-- Kenneth Hammond is a civic leader and the pastor of Union Baptist Church. Rev. Hammond’s congregation is a DPD FaithActs partner and also works with The Community Health Coalition, Global Scholars Academy, the Joyland Community Church Network, and Manpower Development Corp. 

-- Pastor Steve Raj is the senior pastor of Life International where he has ministered for 13 years. His congregation is a DPD FaithActs partner. Raj also serves on the advisory council of the Office of Health Equity and Disparities, Duke Cancer Center. 

-- Will Sutton, a Partners Against Crime co-facilitator and graduate of DPD’s Citizen Police Academy. As a community representative, Sutton offers messages of support and accountability to offenders at DPD’s Juvenile Call-Ins and Drug Market Intervention Initiatives. He is a board member for Thomas Mentor Leadership Academy and Durham’s Citizens Advisory Committee.