Summit will focus on reducing recent community crime
The Presidents' Council of Silver Spring Civic Associations (Prezco) will be holding a Safe Silver Spring summit this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the Science North Building at Montgomery College's Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus. The summit will address rising crime rates in Silver Spring and will feature six workshops on community violence.
Prezco, which represents the Silver Spring neighborhoods of East Silver Spring, South Silver Spring and Indian Spring, began planning the event last November and will kick off the summit with introductory speeches and workshops that focus on issues ranging from policing and security to resources and communication, according to event coordinator Tony Hausner.
There will be two separate sessions held at the campus; the morning summit will start at 8 a.m. and the afternoon summit meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. A free lunch will be offered to all participants.
The summit, which is also sponsored by the office of Councilmember Valerie Ervin and the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board (SSCAB), was initiated in response to neighborhood concerns over rising crime rates. The summit will allow residents to voice their concerns over the increase in violence, according to Ben Stutz, policy analyst on Ervin's council. "It's an opportunity for members of Silver Spring to discuss public safety issues and ways to improve community life," Stutz said.
The death of Blair freshman Tai Lam in November and the fights that broke out at the Mixed Unity concert in March "emphasized concerns we've had," Hausner said. Those two recent events only added to growing discomfort with violence in the community, which motivated many to take steps to addressing neighborhood issues. "It was really a grassroots effort led by residents," Stutz added.
Ervin and her fellow councilmembers strongly support the community organization. "We're all for it," Stutz said. "It's nice for residents to create these grassroots events." Ervin, who attended meetings to hold the summit, will attend the Safe Silver Spring Summit, according to Stutz.
The summit will feature two workshops targeted directly at youth violence titled "Gangs and Pack Robberies" and "Youth: Schools, Truants and Kids Hanging Out." Hausner hopes to hold another summit in the future and create a "more permanent organization to make the community safer."
Hausner added that another goal of the summit is to reach out to the Latino community of Silver Spring. One specific workshop will focus on teaching people how to form neighborhood watches in Latino communities.
Hausner is currently estimating a turnout for the summit of about 125 people. Prospective attendees are asked to register prior to Saturday by sending an email to SafeSilverSpring@gmail.com.
Katie Sint. Katie Sint is 5 foot 2 and her last name rhymes with "squint" which has lead to the creation of many Asian jokes. Katie likes Sour Patch kids, Iron chef, laughing, Bubble Shooter, The Office and naps. She plays volleyball and is a CAP junior. More »