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Learning from Fitchburg?

Fighting crime 'one neighborhood at a time'

March 02, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Although it's about twice the size of our town, Fitchburg may have some things to teach Southbridge regarding how the community can band together to promote crime prevention.

That, at least, was the basic message Kassia Smith and Ed Karcasinas of the District Attorney's office had for a small forum of about 20 people Monday. Despite the fact recession is sucking funds from programs "we learned it's possible to do [something] without funds coming in," Smith said.

Specifically, she said, Fitchburg took an idea from High Point, N.C., Milwaukee and Nashville to focus on changing "one neighborhood at a time" by defining "target areas" in which they'd reach out to residents and help them create community watch groups. By getting residents involved in what has evolved into a group called the Coalition to Save Fitchburg, some areas have seen a 43.6 percent drop in crime, she said.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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