By Eric Ortiz, president of the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association.

Block clubs in Minneapolis help local residents be informed, stay safe and build community. Today, the Lowry Hill East neighborhood, or the Wedge, has 53 block clubs out of 56 clubs. But we have a problem. 

Neighbors in the Wedge don't know all the blocks that have block clubs, and we don't know who all the block club leaders are for all the blocks. So our block clubs are disconnected.

The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) wants to change this and connect all of our block clubs in the Wedge. 

Here's how we are doing this.

We have created a pilot program for Wedge block clubs with Joan Moser, a neighbor-volunteer. She is the block club leader for her block on 2500 Bryant Avenue and is leading our LHENA block club pilot program to create a block club model for all Wedge block clubs.

We want to show the value of block clubs and get more people to join and lead them.

When you are part of a block club, you are part of a block community. That means you can:

  1. Get monthly block and neighborhood news.
  2. Learn about events and gatherings on your block and in your neighborhood.
  3. Get tip sheets on safety and crime prevention (topics range from dealing with bike theft to preventing a carjacking).
  4. Meet and get to know neighbors.
  5. Receive monthly crime stats — to protect yourself and property.
  6. Learn about volunteer opportunities on your block and in the neighborhood.

Block club leaders organize a block, and LHENA is working on getting a block club leader for every block and streamlining our block club process. 

A connected community is a safe community, and we want to provide more structure with LHENA, including creating a database of block club leader information so we can be more coordinated with outreach and communication. 

Right now, the crime prevention specialists in the Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations department have access to the contact information about block clubs, including registered block club leaders. But due to data protection rules, crime prevention specialists cannot share the information about block club leaders. 

We asked Jennifer Waisanen, our neighborhood's crime prevention specialist for the Fifth Precinct, to help. And she did. Jennifer sent out an email to all of the registered block leaders in the Wedge and let them know about our block club plans. But we have gotten no response so far, and Jennifer can only share contact information if block club leaders agree to it.

So we are taking a more direct approach.

We have created a survey for Wedge block leaders. This survey is to get to know our block club leaders better and strengthen the Lowry Hill East block club program.

If you are a block club leader in the Lowry Hill East neighborhood of Minneapolis, can you please fill out this survey? If you know a Wedge block club leader, can you share this survey with them and ask them to fill it out?

All of the information block club leaders provide will be kept private with Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association staff. No information will be shared publicly. 

Once we get the information, we will be able to provide more support for block leaders. Our goal is to strengthen our community and increase public safety. 

Together, we can do this.