What we do

Community Safety: Incubator Project

Everyone deserves to be safe.

But the system we call “public safety” (police, jails, courts, and prisons) is designed to respond after harm has occurred, and is equipped only to punish. This not only fails to make us safer, it creates more harm for low-income communities of color by locking people up and saddling them with a criminal history that keeps them from getting good jobs, safe housing, or other opportunities.

The good news: Our communities know how to create safety for themselves. They always have. With support and funding, they can innovate new approaches to safety that are holistic, right-sized, and make sense for their unique needs.

Community Safety Incubator Projects put resources and agency back in the hands of community members. They decide what they need, and they design and lead the process.

What is a Community Safety Incubator Project?

Short-term, concrete projects that increase safety and wellness in a given neighborhood. These are projects that do not require any government intervention or approval (zoning, ordinances, etc).

The projects are led by a small group of neighbors who have intimate knowledge of the neighborhood’s strengths and needs. They devise a plan for a one-time investment in a project, service or event that will contribute to safety and wellbeing for all neighbors. They are entirely free of cost and designed to invest in the people and organizations in the local community.

How does the process work?

  1. A small group of neighbors agree to serve on the Community Safety Team (CST).
    They engage in discussion about what kinds of unique needs and strengths exist in their community and identify a specific project, service, or improvement that they feel will contribute to the safety, wellbeing, and health of the community. JCA staff will guide this process and provide information on what kinds of solutions might be available. These CST members are paid a stipend for their time and work.

  2. When appropriate, another community-based organization that has specialized expertise can be brought into the process as a consultant to help design and/or implement the project. There are funds to pay for the consultants, intended to be invested in local community organizations.

  3. The project is designed to be completed in 2-3 months or less. Other neighborhood residents are invited to volunteer to help be part of the process and to engage with and share the benefits of the project. JCA pays for all needed materials.

What kinds of things can Incubator Projects do?

These are short-term projects and funding is limited. We cannot create organizations or ongoing programs.

Examples could include:

  • Tree planting
  • Trash cleanup or neighborhood beautification
  • Community gardens
  • Murals or art installations
  • A tool-lending library or other resource-sharing
  • Better outdoor lighting
  • Community or cultural events, block parties, etc.
  • Youth activities
  • Home repairs
  • Food or clothing distribution, other mutual aid
  • Conflict resolution or mediation
  • Harm reduction services, Narcan distribution, accu-detox
  • Training, skill-sharing, or other educational event
    or service

These are just examples generated via JCA’s research and community-engagement activities. The decision is up to the members of the local Community Safety Team.

How can I get an Incubator Project in my neighborhood?

Currently, all projects must be located in Pima County, Arizona. We strive for equity and diversity, ensuring that projects are dispersed across the County and serving as many communities as possible.

The primary populations to be served are individuals and neighborhoods that are historically under-resourced, have experienced high rates of arrest and incarceration, and are otherwise negatively impacted by drug criminalization, prosecution, and stigmatization.

If that describes your neighborhood, click the button below to fill out an interest form: 

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