A block club is a group of neighbors living within one or more city blocks who are committed to knowing one another in order to socialize, address common concerns, promote communication and improve block safety. A block club usually traditionally includes houses on a block facing each other but may span several blocks and may include homes across an alley. Residents can decide to organize at any level. Clubs may also become involved with community issues such as working with youth and seniors, recycling, beautification, traffic calming, violence prevention, community development, and other district council activities. In being actively involved, residents are taking responsibility for themselves and their neighborhood while working together to solve problems and keep the area a safe and thriving community.
Why Organize a Block Club?
In being actively involved in a Block Club, residents are taking responsibility for themselves and their neighborhood. They are working together to solve problems and keep the area a safe and thriving community. Here are some reasons to organize a block club:
- When you already know your neighbors, it is easier to collaborate on solving problems and sharing interests.
- Your District Council can communicate important issues with your block through your Block Club Leader(s).
- Many block clubs socialize regularly and then meet to discuss and solve issues as they arise -like watching out for an elderly neighbor or taking action on a nuisance property.
- Block clubs serve as the “building block” for maintaining the strength and safety of our neighborhood.
- Block clubs provide an opportunity for residents to become involved in a range of community-wide activities.
Strong, safe, and healthy communities don’t just happen. They are the product of the consistent efforts of residents/renters, business owners, and property managers to strengthen communications and resolve local issues. Living in isolation from our neighbors weakens us. By actively forming community, we are more likely to thrive – both individually and collectively.
Benefits of Block Clubs
These are just some of the things block clubs accomplish in our neighborhoods:
- Welcome new neighbors
- Increase public safety and reduce fear
- Resolve “problem property” issues such as nuisances, trash, and disrepair.
- Address issues of concern (e.g. noise, traffic, parking, trash, animals, juvenile misbehavior)
- Organize socially (e.g. a block party or garage sale)
- Improve the environment, aid in the “greening” and beautification of the neighborhood
- Establish babysitting co-ops and/or parenting clubs
- Keep alleys clean, well-lit, and safe and encourage Alley Clean-up Day
- Collaborate with commercial neighbors
- Transmit vital information between residents and city agencies or community organizations
- Take the lead in creating or influencing City policies
- Develop local leadership
- Assist neighbors in times of emergency and need.
Preventing Crime through Block Organizing
Criminals are less likely to target your block when they see neighbors interacting and
watching out for one another.
Block Clubs are proven to help fight and prevent crime when:
- Residents learn techniques to reduce crime (e.g. placing front porch/alley lights).
- Residents learn how to recognize and report suspicious activities
- Residents learn how to make their homes more secure and crime-resistant
- Neighbors to get to know one another and their routines so that any out of place activity can be reported and investigated
Organizing meetings and events that address and explore these issues is an excellent opportunity for block leaders to take on leadership roles. Such meetings reduce the fear of crime in many neighborhoods. When incorporated with other block activities, these crime prevention techniques also bring about a greater sense of community.