Community participation, more police, and more jobs helped turn the community of East Palo Alto from US “murder capital” in 1992 into “one of the safest places to live in the peninsula” in 2023. The community turned that label “into something positive,” says Sharifa Wilson, who was mayor in 1992. “If you give us lemons, we’re gonna make lemonade.” Residents formed a group called “Just Us” and took pictures of the license plates of those driving in to buy drugs, for the police to follow up, while nonprofit and faith-based groups engaged youth in after-school programs. Police Chief Jeff Liu credited residents for the good result. “What I love about East Palo Alto is not only is it a model for our peninsula but also the country about how community policing can be effective,” said Mayor Antonio López.

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