after dark in downtown Winston-Salem, NC

The Center for Community Safety

The Center for Community Safety mission is to facilitate the mutual beneficial exchange of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity to address critical societal issues and contribute to the public good.

Our goal is the continuous innovation through the interaction of scholarship and collaboration to create and sustain the transformation needed to achieve beneficial societal outcomes for individuals, organizations and communities.

We work towards a vision of communities where all people are safe to live, learn, work and play.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the 'Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative' (SACSI) in 1999 to increase the capacity of U.S. Attorneys, working in partnership with federal, state and local criminal justice agencies and a research entity, to collaborate on data collection and analysis and to design targeted strategies and interventions to prevent and reduce crime.

Many years prior to the DOJ's announcement of SACSI, agencies from throughout Forsyth County in North Carolina had come together to develop comprehensive approaches to meet the needs of young persons at risk of committing violence. In September 1995, Walter Holton, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, began a series of meetings in Winston-Salem with the Chief of Police, the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the Director of the Juvenile Justice Council to address an escalation in youth violence. They agreed that addressing this crisis would require confronting the root causes of problems facing youth in a countywide, comprehensive manner. A decision was made to bring together a leadership team to develop a coordinated, shared strategy to meet the challenge through:

1. Advocating community priorities for children and youth that are 
    family-focused and promote positive development;

2. Seeking the effective allocation of community resources to better meet the needs of families
    and children;

3. Identifying and removing system barriers that reduce effectiveness in serving children and
    youth; and

4. Evaluating improved outcomes for children, youth and families.

In 1999, SACSI leaders in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of North Carolina proposed the establishment of a nerve center for community safety issues, where "practice informs research and research strengthens practice." The proposal was shared with staff of the Winston-Salem-based Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, which conducts grant-making activity exclusively in North Carolina. The concept was also discussed with administrators of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), where the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney was a member of the Board of Trustees. Over the next six months, various funding and organizational options were explored, as a detailed description of the proposed center emerged.

In July 2000, WSSU and SACSI leaders presented the formal grant application to the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust's Poor and Needy Division, which "provides grants to improve the welfare of the people of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County with emphasis on those who need assistance with basic necessities for financial reasons." The Trust responded with the largest single investment it had ever made to one institution: $1.8 million over five years to support the establishment of The Center for Community Safety at Winston-Salem State University in January 2001.

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

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