In 1972, residents of a multi-racial, mixed-class area in West Philadelphia came together and organised to prevent crime in their neighbourhood… CLASP, Citizen’s Local Alliance for a Safer Philadelphia, worked to prevent burglaries with locks, lights, homemade burglar alarms, engraving machines and an awareness of strangers.
They also worked to address street crime through the use of neighbourhood walks. Walks were conducted by a group of at least two unarmed and unmarked neighbourhood residents. When they saw a crime happening, they used flashlights and freon horns to signal other neighbours to come out with their horns.
By 1976, there was 600 organised autonomous blocks throughout the city. People were more comfortable spending time outside, and a CLASP survey showed an average of 75% less crime on organised blocks compared to their respective police districts.