Criminal Justice Faculty to Develop Safety Plan for Yesler Terrace

Written by Laura Paskin
June 5, 2014

The Criminal Justice Department has received a research grant from the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) to develop a public safety plan for the Yesler Terrace neighborhood. Professors William Parkin, Peter Collins, and Jacqueline Helfgott, Criminal Justice department chair, will create the plan with the assistance of student researchers in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program. Parkin is the principal investigator for the grant.

Yesler Terrace, a public housing complex built between 1941 and 1943, is a large, highly diverse community located just east of Seattle’s downtown. A 10-year redevelopment program is replacing existing buildings with a mixed-income community.

The yearlong planning project is divided into five phases: assessment of current levels of crime and perceptions of crime, inventory of existing resources and potential resources to address crime, determination of additional resources needed to develop and implement a sustainable public safety plan, plan strategies, and data tracking and evaluation.

The Criminal Justice Department team will work closely with neighborhood residents, social services providers, SHA staff, and law enforcement to develop the public safety plan. Seattle University has had a long-standing relationship with the Yesler Terrace community through its Center for Service and Community Engagement.

In addition to identifying threats to public safety and cooperatively developing methods for addressing these issues, the plan will outline public safety priorities, detail community resources being leveraged to address public safety issues, give the community an opportunity to determine best practices in environmental design that discourage criminal and deviant behavior, and make recommendations for training of SHA staff. Working with SHA staff, the finalized public safety plan will be translated into multiple languages.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University offers 41 undergraduate major degrees, 36 minors, and 6 master’s degrees. The Criminal Justice Department offers B.A., B.S., and M.A. degrees in Criminal Justice and a post-baccalaureate Certificate in Crime Analysis.