From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons
Blue Light Safety Project Focuses on Community Safety Without Police
by Santa Cruz Community Safety Workgroup
Saturday Aug 27th, 2011 11:38 PM
The Santa Cruz local Blue Light Safety Project focuses on community safety without reliance on police.

The Blue Light Safety Project is a Santa Cruz local community effort to provide temporary safe spaces for people who are feeling unsafe. Community members who want to provide a safe space to those in need simply put a blue light on their house.

People in our communities, especially those in vulnerable populations, sometimes need a place where they can stop for a brief time to seek help or safety, make a phone call, wait for a ride, or rest for a moment. For example, female-bodied people or youth walking alone at night, people escaping intimate violence, queer or trans people who've been threatened, or elderly people who need a brief rest might feel supported to have a house in their neighborhood where they knew they could find a temporary safe space.

The project is an attempt to provide safety in our community outside of institutional solutions such as police.

There are several ways to support the project. The simplest way is to become a Blue Light House. On a practical level, it could not be simpler:

  1. Acquire a blue light bulb (from this project, hardware store, etc)
  2. Display it prominently at your house
  3. Optionally, put up a sign so people understand why you are participating in the project
There are also some more complicated things to consider:
  • Are other people in your house comfortable with this idea?  Have you talked to them about it?
  • Are you comfortable setting boundaries and limits with people who use your space?
  • How do you interpret "temporary safe space"?  How do you communicate that to potential uses of the space?
  • Many of the people who are most vulnerable to violence come from a very different socio-economic place than our housed selves; are you comfortable with that?
  • Have you decided what you are comfortable offering at your house?  A momentary refuge?  A phone call?  A ride?  A place to sleep?  
  • Have you thought about what you will say when someone comes to your door?  Thinking that through will reduce any awkwardness.

Here is our suggestion for a sign you might consider posting at your house.  This is as much for your curious neighbors as for people who need  a temporary safe space.

This is the Blue Light Safety Project.
A blue light signifies that this house is a temporary safe space,
open to anyone that feels in danger or threatened.
Knock on the door and the residents will provide support
until you feel safer or can make other arrangements.
If no one is home, you are welcome to sit on the porch
for a short time until you feel safe to continue on your way.

The project is an attempt to provide safety in our community
outside of institutional solutions such as police.
More information about the Blue Light Safety Project:

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by SC Community Safety
(sccommunitysafety [at] Sunday Aug 28th, 2011 3:52 PM
This is one of the projects that have come out of the Police Obsolescence Workgroup, itself a part of the larger Santa Cruz Community Safety Workgroup.

Here are some of the related projects:

  • Santa Cruz Community Safety Workgroup
    "A structured workshop to plan ways to keep our communities safe at all levels. Here are just some of the challenges we are attempting to tackle: accountability, education and public perception, community crisis response, cops and alternatives, defense of communities, domestic & sexual violence, isolation and alienation, mutual support and solidarity, and making the police obsolete."
  • Bad Cop Santa Cruz
    "We seek to document the abuse of authority and highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges. By documenting police actions... we encourage transparency and hold police accountable. If you are familiar with CopWatch projects, this is a way of documenting what we see when we are watching"
  • Police Obsolescence Project
    "Working toward a world without police. Some of the efforts of this Santa Cruz, California workgroup include CopWatch, know your rights, police accountability, alternatives to calling the police, and education about police, courts, and jails."
by Douglas Enns IV
Saturday Sep 3rd, 2011 7:21 AM
I don't get it. Not a single sign-up? Not even the people whose idea this is? So you want other people to throw their doors open to strangers, but you won't do it yourselves? Do you really not see the hypocrisy here?
by Blue Light
Wednesday Sep 14th, 2011 11:59 AM
How do you know that there are no blue lights houses currently active?

In any case, good communication within blue light houses is important, so it sometimes takes time.

Do not mistake your impatience and hyper-criticism for hypocrisy.