Partners in crime (prevention)

In her keynote speech for the Nov. 18 Justice Department symposium convened at Penn, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno both praised local efforts to fight crime and raised a cry for the need to do more.

“Philadelphia is a wonderful city,” Reno began, to enthusiastic applause in the ballroom at the Inn at Penn. She exhorted her audience to “bring the spirit of Philadelphia to every community in this nation.”

Reno emphasized the importance of job training, mentoring youth and establishing programs for ex-offenders re-entering society.

After challenging the 225 attendees, including community, government and business leaders, to not be complacent during these prosperous times and noting that government and law enforcement could not do the job of fighting crime alone, she said, “As business leaders, you have an advantage. Use the clout, use the authority you have established as business leaders to make an investment in the most precious capital we have — the people of America.”

Held in cooperation with the Fels Center of Government, the symposium, titled “Corporate-Community Coalitions for Public Safety,” was moderated by Lawrence Sherman, director of the Fels Center and Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations in the Department of Sociology.

The symposium also featured panelists such as President Judith Rodin; Michael Stiles, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Police Commissioner John F. Timoney; Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham; and Sister Carol Keck, executive director of Norris Square Neighborhood Project.

As the only out-of-state guest besides Reno, Patricia Hoven, vice president of Minneapolis’ Honeywell, Inc., spoke about the success of the Minnesota HEALS program. The program was spearheaded by Honeywell, whose headquarters is located in the most crime-ridden section of Minneapolis.

Rodin echoed a common sentiment at the conference — the need to form community partnerships to fight crime. “It’s not what we do to the community, it’s not what we do for the community, but it’s what we do with the community that will make the difference in solving these problems,” she said.

Originally published on December 2, 1999