Council Member Julissa Ferreras and the nonprofit organization Hollaback! (that’s us!) led an historic community safety audit on Saturday, May 5th in Queens from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Community members met at The Transfiguration Of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 3805 98th Street, Corona, New York for training. Afterwards they surveyed blocks in their neighborhood where residents expressed safety concerns and developed a concrete plan to address those concerns.
“This audit focused on women’s safety is a key step in the crime prevention effort in my district. We hope to develop a better understanding of the community’s needs and concerns to help reduce the risk of crime against women in the future and I am proud to collaborate with Hollaback! in this effort,” stated Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
The audit gathered important information from the community including the ratio of men to women, how public space is being utilized and details on how well roads, parks and public transit stops are lit at nighttime. In addition, audit participants answered questions on how safe they feel when occupying public spaces.
“It takes a community to make communities safer. Block by block, we’re going to work together with community members, organizations, and government to develop concrete improvements for how we can make Queens safer,” says Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May. Community safety audits are an UN-identified best practice to address street harassment in communities across the world.
“You will find no bigger fan of Hollaback than myself,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Street harassment remains a common occurrence for women throughout New York City, and I commend Council Member Julissa Ferreras for collaborating with them to bring the discussion to her Queens district. I hope this leads to a larger conversation on how to effectively combat public harassment against women, LGBT, and non-gender-conforming persons throughout our City streets.”
Following an assessment of the audit data, recommendations to create safer spaces for women in Queens will be submitted to the city agencies. Council Member Ferreras and Hollaback! have already discussed plans to paint over graffiti, increase street lighting, create harassment-free zones around public schools and install an anti-harassment PSA campaign in public spaces such as parks and bus stops.
Representatives from NYC agencies attended including NYPD, NYC Department of Transportation, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. Collaborating community organizations include Elmcor Senior Services, Dominican American Society (DAS), Ecuadorian Civic Committee, Make the Road New York, and Community Board 3 members. This event was generously supported by: Health First, Dominicana Radio Dispatcher, Mama’s Leo’s Latticini, Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, and SD Printing.