Kern County, CA: Kern County and East Bakersfield Faith Community Alliance Work Together to Reduce Crime in East Bakersfield
The Kern County Sheriff’s office works with the East Bakersfield Faith Community Alliance to engage residents of the unincorporated community of East Bakersfield to reduce crime. At an initial meeting in 2007, the Faith Alliance organized a community meeting where the Sheriff promised the 650 residents in attendance that he would work with them to explore how to better staff the local sub-station. The Sheriff also committed to exploring how to improve the relationship between his department and local residents.
Since then, members of the Faith Alliance and the Sheriff have met every six months. The Sheriff notes, “these meetings put us in touch with people who live in the community, and allowed us to learn about their issues in a collaborative and productive way, without finger-pointing or accusations.”
The Sheriff says the meetings and his department’s responsiveness to residents built a level of trust that empowers residents to call and share things with his deputies that the county didn’t hear about before. This enables the department to identify and address community problems such as unsafe housing, code violations, and reducing graffiti and trash.