Volker neighbors take to the sidewalks to build community and deter crime

“There is strength in numbers,” says Kara Werner about the new Volker Watch Sidewalk Chalk Program. The idea is to connect with other residents and show concern for the area by writing messages on the sidewalks and streets of the neighborhood. The program began as a way to drive traffic to the Volker Watch Facebook group, but it’s already beginning to take on a life of its own.

Since Saturday, at least seven people in the Volker neighborhood have taken up the challenge to build community – using their sidewalks. The idea comes from Kara Werner, a Volker resident who started the very popular Volker Crime Watch Facebook group several years ago. Werner also likes writing chalk quotations on the sidewalk in front of her house. And two days ago, she asked herself, “What if we used messages on the sidewalk to expand Volker Watch…”

Her idea was that she and other Volker residents could use the sidewalk as a means of driving traffic to the Volker Watch page. Some of the initial messages alerted people to the Facebook site, whose purpose is to allow Volker residents to share crime and safety information and to build community while deterring crime. But residents who have joined the sidewalk chalk movement have already gone in new directions, quoting Mother Teresa, Dr. Seuss and others.

Werner says she doesn’t have a clearly defined plan about where the project might go. But she’s already starting to see the potential. For one thing, it sends a message to people who might be lurking around the neighborhood for nefarious reasons, and tells them this is a community where people are working together against crime. She sees possibilities in using the chalk messages to alert people to places they can go to get food and assistance. And the chalk statements are leading to conversations between the chalk artists and people who have never heard of the Facebook group and even those who have never used Facebook at all.

Anyone who wants to get involved in the fledgling Volker Watch Sidewalk Chalk Program can join the group’s Facebook page.  Members can view what others are doing on their own sidewalks, and they can also post pictures and discuss the type of reaction they are getting.

We’d love to hear about other projects like this going on in Midtown.


Comments are closed.