The Attorney General, Government Grants and Making Destinations and Cities Safer

May 20, 2024

At GeoSure, the world’s fastest growing (and deepest reaching) purveyor of hyper-local risk data, we are firm believers in utilizing street-level, real-time, crowdsourced observations from our users.  It not only enriches the information we provide – it’s also a form of personal empowerment that encourages individuals to engage with their communities.  

It is no wonder that we were pleased to see Attorney General Merrick Garland double down on the federal government’s commitment to curbing crime.  Of particular interest is the way he’s going about it – not by funding more police services, but by investing $78 million in innovative safety strategies at the local level.

In his speech announcing these grants, the Attorney General noted that the funds “…will go directly to organizations that are making strides in driving down violent crime and building community trust across the country.”

This effort is clearly a social imperative, but at the same time it is also a complex challenge. Public safety isn’t just a matter of deriving conclusions from one-dimensional crime statistics: there are different nuances and inflection points depending on factors like population density, geography, built environment, and more – in both the macro and micro sense.  

One-dimensional measures serve little social good, allowing for sensationalism and misrepresentation.  In fact, making our cities safer takes a combination of integrative data and hyper-localized, feet-on-the-ground knowledge and commitment – something we at GeoSure have been keenly aware of for over ten years.

It might sound cliché, but it’s also a vital truth, that it takes a community to keep a neighborhood safe.  The AG made this clear, noting that one of his grant recipients, READi Chicago, achieved a 65% decline in shooting and violent crime arrests, due in part to “funding evidence-informed, community-centered initiatives…”

That’s data that inspires rather than discourages!

Since GeoSure’s founding more than a decade ago, we have advocated for a synergistic combination of objective data and local engagement.  Data is a scorecard that inspires community activists to accomplish measurable safety goals, and in turn these goals (when achieved at scale) positively improve the quality of that data.

There is no doubt that each neighborhood – no matter where in the country or the world it is located – is on a journey to ever-higher levels of safety, which is achievable when residents are fully invested in their collective well-being.  And when they have access to transparent and objective data as a catalyst, it propels that journey.  There’s a direct correlation between community engagement and community safety; people make one another — and their neighborhoods — safer when they look out for each other.  

Safe, vibrant streets are, as we know, are an engine of economic and societal growth.   As more people are out and about, and the more the conversation grows, the more realizable the engine becomes. Police help of course. But it is well established that they cannot do it alone.  That is core to the successful implementation of “violence interrupters” across the country.  

We applaud those efforts because, as GeoSure sees it, there is no such thing as a hopelessly dangerous neighborhood; there are only neighborhoods that aren’t safe yet.  

That transformation starts with engagement, which is why GeoSure’s platform is built to ingest at scale crowd-sourced contributions.   Merrick Garland’s $78M grant program is confirmation that his office agrees.  His mission is to replace uncertainty with confidence by funding extraordinary local organizations – like READi – that are building structures of confidence and support on a grass roots level.  They are reformulating the relationship between people and their communities. 

Our country’s founders envisioned that our democracy couldn’t function if individuals felt threatened.  They as well had a vision that data was vital to improving lives and measuring community progress, creating the national census. Garland clearly agrees, and is finding innovate ways to secure our present and future.

With humility and optimism, GeoSure is thrilled to play a part in enabling residents and their governments to make their neighborhoods safer, one micro data point at a time.