In New Bedford, some residents have made it a full-time job to complain on Facebook, yet do little to either fix the issue themselves (for example, taking photos of trash instead of cleaning the trash) or take the time to officially report the problem to those with the resources to act. Ready to act instead of talk? Here are 10 actions you should consider BEFORE you take your gripes to social media.
1. Report potholes, graffiti and tree issues by using the ‘SeeClickFix’ page or app
The City of New Bedford allows residents the opportunity to “report graffiti, potholes, and tree trimming” through their ‘SeeClickFix’ page (http://www.newbedford-ma.gov/seeclickfix/) or by using their app that can be found in the Apple or Android app stores.
Here’s an example of the form:
You can then track the response from the city by clicking the ‘Requests’ tab:
2. Use the tools the Neighborhood Task Force provides
Is a landlord not taking action about trash or other issues? Call the Neighborhood Task Force – (508) 979-1410 or report the violation with their online form. Read more on the Neighborhood Task Force webpage.
3. See a crime? Report it to the police
New Bedford is also known as the ‘Secret City’ because so many residents refuse to report crime for fear of being called a snitch or even being retaliated against. The New Bedford police provide anonymous ways to report crime online or by calling (508) 961-4584.
4. Purchase exterior home cameras and register it with the NBPD
The New Bedford court system is known to be a revolving door for criminals. Judges seem to release repeat offenders back onto the street to victimize witnesses or commit other crimes without much fear from the judges.
It’s already hard enough to convict offenders, but the things that help prosecutors the most is video evidence and witnesses. Home security cameras and video storage are very affordable. Once you buy security cameras go ahead and register them with the New Bedford Poice Department. If a crime is committed near your home, the police may request to see if you have video evidence. The more cameras that are put up in high crime areas the stronger the case for prosecutors getting convictions.
5. Participate in a neighborhood group
Neighborhood groups provide a great way for concerned citizens to get together and come up with ideas that are passed on to appropriate City departments. Neighborhoods United is the best place to start. Per the City of New Bedford’s website:
“Neighborhoods United is an organization of 12 New Bedford neighborhoods, associations, and crime watch groups that are committed to making their communities a safer and healthier place in which to live. Members also assist with other interested neighborhoods to start new groups. Neighborhoods United comes together to facilitate initiatives and activities that can help improve the quality of life for community residents. The following is a list of currently active neighborhood associations and watch groups:
– Arnold Street Neighborhood Association
– Brooklawn Neighborhood Association
– Bullard St. Neighborhood Association
– Buttonwood Park Area / Historic District Neighborhood Association
– Clark’s Point Neighborhood Association
– Cove St. Neighborhood Association
– Far North End Neighborhood Association
– Goulart Square Neighborhood Association
– Hope VI Safety Watch
– Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Association
– Neighborhoods United
– Neighborhood Working Group of the South End
– South First
Contact New Bedford’s Planning, Housing and Community Development at (508) 979-1500 for more information on neighborhood group in New Bedford.
6. Meet with your City Councilor and attend City Council meetings
I’ve always found New Bedford City Councilors to be responsive to phone calls and emails. A City Councilor’s primary job is constituent services – at least that’s what they say over and over during elections. If you have problems on your street or neighborhood contact your ward councilor or any of the at-large councilors. Their emails and phone numbers can be found here.
City Councilors are also your city’s legislators, charged with writing ordinances and approving the City’s budget. Attend a City Council Session or committee meeting to stay up-to-date on City Government and meet them directly to share your concerns. Full 2018 schedule here.
7. Participate in Operation Clean Sweep
Want to help keep New Bedford clean? Operation Clean Sweep is a great way to start. The cleanups are also a way to meet other amazing like-minded people in the community and food is usually provided at no charge. They have an amazing record:
“In the last 12 years, over 7000 volunteers from all segments of the community have participated in neighborhood cleanups. These dedicated volunteers performed over 23,000 hours of community service and cleaned over 82 tons of trash from many miles of New Bedford neighborhood streets.”
Want to have an even bigger impact? Take inspiration from Operation Clean Sweep and start your own group of volunteers to clean up your street.
At the time of this article, volunteermatch.org lists 164 volunteer opportunities in New Bedford. There is no better way to have a positive impact in New Bedford than by volunteering.
9. Attend office hours with your mayor
Mayor Jon Mitchell holds monthly office hours. For the most recent one, he even bought pizza for anyone that attended. Stay tuned to NewBedfordGuide.com and follow our Facebook page as we post his up-coming office hours well in advance. We also share it on the New Bedford Politics Facebook group.
10. Join our New Bedford Politics Group
Still have a gripe or just want to talk politics? Join the New Bedford Poltics group, especially during election season.
Have some other suggestions? Post a comment below!