In September 2011, a Hopkins community-police partnership was recognized with a national MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award for innovative community safety efforts that have reduced crime, eliminated blight and renewed economic vitality in Hopkins neighborhoods.
Hopkins was selected from among 700 applicants for one of 10 MetLife Foundation honors. The $20,000 award specifically recognizes the work of the Blake Road Community Collaborative (BRCC) and the Hopkins Police Department for their creative efforts to improve quality of life and bring together governmental and community organizations to address crime.
The award is funded by MetLife Foundation – which has long supported neighborhood-based efforts to tackle crime and improve safety – and is administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), whose national Community Safety Initiative promotes strategic community development and policing through creative partnerships.
"Community safety is a key component to strong healthy neighborhoods and a higher community quality of life,” said Andriana K. Abariotes, Executive Director, Twin Cities LISC. “We're thrilled that the Blake Road Collaborative and Hopkins Police Department are being recognized for their tremendous efforts to engage residents in improving their community."
The Blake Road Community Collaborative grew out of a need to revitalize the Blake Road Corridor in Hopkins, which was plagued by crime and disorder, an increasing number of foreclosed and vacant businesses and a desperate lack of residential hope.
The police, in partnership with Resource West and ICA Foodshelf, talked with residents and business owners, conducted overtime patrol in the neighborhoods and met with housing inspectors to strengthen the property code for nuisance and disorderly behavior. Initially, communication presented itself as a major challenge, causing the collaborative to use creative approaches such as a new neighborhood blog to get the word out.
Four Neighborhood Watch groups have since formed and Cottageville Park, once a haven for gang members and criminal activity, was taken back by neighbors.
Business owners took part in the revitalization by helping with litter clean up and acting as a virtual Business Watch, alerting police when suspicious activity occurred. Overall, the 25% drop in crime has been significant, paving the way for new business activity in the community.
“The Hopkins police department is very grateful for the collaboration and support of the community,” said Chief Michael J. Reynolds. “We look forward to continuing our proactive partnerships into the future. We are honored to receive this award from MetLife Foundation and LISC and look forward to sharing our strategies with others across the nation.”