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Re-imagining Community Safety in Greenville South Carolina's Nicholtown Neighborhood

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,000,000)

WestEd’s Justice and Prevention Research Center (JPRC) is requesting grant funds to support “Re-imagining Community Safety in Greenville, South Carolina’s Nicholtown Neighborhood.” In partnership with Greenville’s mayor’s office, police department, NAACP, and the Sterling School, the JPRC proposes to implement Voices of Informed Community Engagement for Safety (VOICES) to engage the community to assess needs and enhance and evaluate a new community safety strategy in the Nicholtown neighborhood of Greenville, South Carolina, zip code 29607.

Greenville is located along the I-85 corridor in upstate South Carolina—geographically positioned between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia—and has a population of just over 70,000. Within the Greenville city is the Nicholtown neighborhood, located about a mile from downtown Greenville. Nicholtown is a predominantly Black community. Over the past four years, violent personal crime (e.g., homicide, aggravated assault, rape, etc.) rates in Nicholtown have been over 40% higher than citywide. Property crimes (e.g., arson, burglary, theft, etc.) are also increasing. While low-level crimes (e.g., disorderly conduct, DUI, vandalism, curfew, etc.) have been down since 2019, they show an upward trend in the past few years.

Life for a significant portion of residents is getting harder, and the services that help them are getting geographically tougher to access. This is due to increasing trends in rent costs (35% higher than the average income), housing prices (up 140% in the past three years), and poverty rates (13.5%). These challenges, in part, are impacting crime rates, economic development, diversity, and opportunities for safer communities.

The project seeks to implement VOICES to develop a new community safety model within Nicholtown, build collaborative capacity with partner organizations and residents, promote racial equity, and remove barriers within Nicholtown that may impede opportunities for success for those who have been underserved. The JPRC will support Greenville in identifying and implementing a new Nicholtown Community Safety Strategy (NCSS) by facilitating VOICES. VOICES incorporates a system-thinking approach to assess community safety needs, identify innovative solutions, improve implementation readiness, and evaluate for continuous quality improvement and sustainability. The primary objectives of this project include: 1) assessing the needs of Nicholtown to identify a community safety strategy that meets their community’s needs; 2) assisting the community in implementing the NCSS; and 3) evaluating the NCSS for CQI, sustainability, and reducing crime.

Date Created: September 28, 2023