The Community Safety and Wellbeing Assessment arose in response to an increasing groundswell of community concern in relation to the national debate on policing and events that have received a great deal of publicity since July 2020. This study is already underway and will likely continue through the summer of 2021.
The first two stages, initial assessment and methods selection, have been completed. At this time, surveys are being developed to assess community needs, and researchers will begin interviewing community members in May for a period of 4-6 weeks. Researchers will also interview members of the Williamstown Police Department and conduct a literature review of existing research to help contextualize and provide an evidence-based framework for recommendations to help the Town better meet the needs of the community.
Once the recommendations have been reviewed and interventions approved by the social work committee, policies and programs will be implemented along with outcome measures to determine the efficacy of the intervention(s).
Additional studies evaluating other community services to identify any gaps and short- and long-term solutions will follow in the fall and throughout the coming years to ensure that community needs are proactively examined and fulfilled to the best of the Town’s ability, and that problems are averted or resolved before reaching a crisis point.