Approximately $5,000 of the grant will help develop eight new neighborhood and business watches in the 30047 ZIP code. The remaining funds will be received through community coaching provided by Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta affiliates.
SafetySmart has worked with the community to help start neighborhood watches, increase community involvement and encourage communication between residents and law enforcement. And, SafetySmart will continue developing safety related programs for those who live, work, play or worship in the greater Lilburn area.
"This is a great opportunity for our grassroots organization to plan for future funding and learn from excellent mentors to make our efforts sustainable," said SafetySmart Board Member Kathy Rice.
The Lilburn area has had many changes in the last twelve years, including an 80 percent turnover of the population and significant changes in demographics. These radical changes have contributed to decreasing sense of safety and connectedness among residents.
New watch members are encouraged to get to know their immediate neighbors, eventually expanding their social circles and safety networks to nearby streets and even other subdivisions. Adding observant eyes and ears prevents crime and minor infractions.
Subdivisions and business districts with watches build connections between younger and older generations, ensure safety nets for those suffering from grief or loss, and generally connect people on a level far beyond half-hearted waves between passing acquaintances.
Carrie Canfield, SafetySmart's secretary, hopes the grant will allow "greater connection between the residents of 30047 and the resources of Gwinnett County."
The increased connection between residents has the notable impact of raising awareness so that people notice actions that seem out of place or unusual. An added bonus is heightened interactions among neighbors and businesses. With more people making an effort to reach out and connect to their neighbors, Lilburn will become a friendlier and safer community.
"This grant will help increase the reach of SafetySmart and strengthen our efforts in the Lilburn community," said Margot Ashley, SafetySmart's president. "We are looking forward to continued work with the residents of the 30047 area as we jointly create the safest community in Georgia."
SafetySmart board meets on the second Thursday of each month at in the conference room at 6:45 p.m. Volunteers interested in being actively involved are welcome to attend.
Volunteers are needed to help with upcoming events such as:
- Rabies Clinic, Sept. 8, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
- New Watch Formation Workshop, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.
- Gwinnett Great Days of Service, October 5-6
- Gwinnett Public Safety Festival (at CoolRray Field), October 6, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
- Lilburn Daze, October 13, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Lilburn Christmas Parade, December 1, 10 a.m.
- Gwinnett County Public Schools mentoring program, where students are linked with people in the community
- SafetySmart is also seeking volunteers to help coach new neighborhoods and businesses starting watches.
(Editor's Note: This article is taken from a press release from SafetySmart's president Margot Ashley. It has been edited.)