Safe Streets/Strong Communities

Who We Are:

Safe Streets/Strong Communities is a community-based organization that campaigns for a new criminal justice system in New Orleans, one that creates safe streets and strong communities for everyone, regardless of race or economic status.

The public safety system in New Orleans was in crisis long before Hurricane Katrina devastated our city. The system cost tax payers millions of dollars every year while it failed to keep our citizens safe, leaving us vulnerable to crime and violence and with one of the highest murder rates in the nation.

Abuse and corruption within the New Orleans Police Department, inside the Orleans Parish Prison Complex and within our court system has been the source of litigation, protests, and national scandal.

These broken systems have brought shame to our city and limited our ability to attract both old and new residents into our great city. They have stifled the economic growth and opportunity our city so desperately needs. In addition, over a quarter of New Orleans’ residents are funneled through this broken system every year, which often devastates families and destroys the fabric of our communities.

As tragic as Hurricane Katrina’s impact on our city, it has also given us a unique opportunity for meaningful change. As we work to rebuild our city we must build a public safety system that focuses on real reforms, not “ law and order” rhetoric. To that end, Safe Streets envisions a system that :

  • Keeps people safe from all forms of violence and crime including street violence, domestic violence, and law enforcement violence;
  • Is transparent, democratic, fair and accountable to the community it serves; and
  • Supports community-driven responses to crime that are based in best practices.
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What we do: (please see website for greater details)

Safe Streets/Strong communities uses a variety of strategies, including grassroots organizing and community empowerment; outreach and recruitment; leadership development and peer advocacy; Coalition Building; Direct Action and Policy Advocacy; Speakers Bureau and Media Advocacy.

Its three current campaigns are comprehensive efforts to reform the Indigent Defender system, Orleans Parish Prison, and the New Orleans Police Department.

** September/October 2007. Robin Templeton, ‘Locked Up in New Orleans.’ COLORLINES. Issue #40. Article originally appeared in The Nation. (

** August 29, 2007. Jordan Flaherty, ‘Two Years Post-Katrina: Racism and Criminal Justice in New Orleans.’ (; To get on Jordan’s list serve, email him at jordanhurricane [at] lists [dot]

** March 10, 2006. Jordan Flaherty, ‘Guantanamo on the Mississippi.’ (email list serve jordanhurricane [at] lists [dot]