"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better," said Leona Rega, coordinator, Tamaqua Community Safety Initiative, during a recent public discussion held at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.

Even though her statement comes from Dr. Suess, her message is serious.

The discussion focused on areas needing improvement in Tamaqua.

Partners and volunteers with the Community Safety Initiative have spent the past year focusing on improvements needed in the designated Tamaqua Safety Corridor, which involves the immediate streets and areas located northeast of the Five Points intersection, and including the 100 blocks of Pine Street and Center Street.

The safety initiative group is comprised of many Tamaqua residents, business owners, property owners, community organizations, police department, crime watch, borough council members, code enforcement, fire department, Chamber of Commerce, health professionals and more. Rega added that everyone in Tamaqua is welcome.

During a recent presentation, Rega pointed out a number of important facts regarding the designated Safety Corridor. In the corridor, there are 39 businesses and 18 vacant properties. In the past three years, the corridor has been the site of 59 reported burglaries/thefts (24 of those in the past year), 26 arrests for drug use, 47 arrests related to alcohol, three reports of rape and two assaults with a knife.

"Look at places where you feel safe," said Rega, who also serves as director of Tamaqua Community Arts Center. "Ask what makes you feel safe there and how can we (Tamaqua) replicate it?"

Rega pointed out other communities that have used similar projects to make their communities safer. Operation Weed and Seed was used by the community of Edison, Michigan to successfully fight crime, drug use and increasing gang activity in high crime neighborhoods.

Encouraging more people to get involved, Rega stressed, "Anyone may join or participate in the safety initiative by providing their concerns regarding safety, crime or any important topic related to the betterment of Tamaqua."

Tamaqua's Safety Initiative Project will host a community conversation on Tuesday Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine St.

The conversation is a follow-up to the initial ssfety initiative meeting on Nov. 8.

The public meeting will provide a discussion venue regarding new and past Tamaqua Safety Initiative topics, such as dealing with the concern over the number and types of crime, improving safety and living conditions, gaining useful community resources, increasing community involvement and more.

Also during the meeting, results of a recently mailed community safety survey will be presented.

The surveys were mailed to everyone within the safety corridor. Participants will be asked to reflect on the survey findings and add details where possible.

"The results of the survey show that residents of all our neighborhoods share some of the same concerns," said Rega.

For more information about the safety initiative, contact Rega at (570) 668-1192.

"I am just the person that pulls everyone together. The participating partners and people getting involved are the ones making this work," said Rega.