TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Hi-Crest Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA) is working with community partners to give students resources to stay both busy and safe this summer.

With the school year drawing to a close, community members to the Hi-Crest neighborhood in southeast Topeka are hoping to get ahead of a crime surge. The area typically sees an increase in crime when school gets out for summer.

“Maybe our police can be more present,” said Jill Rice, Hi-Crest NIA president. “Whether that’s just being in the neighborhood maybe it’s stopping by the park, while they’re playing basketball.”

At their April meeting, Hi-Crest learned its neighborhood crime rates have gone down. But with a history of crime increasing during summer months they’re hoping to get ahead of it — it’s not just a police presence though.

A Clemson University study shows that a 1% increase in food security translates to a 12% increase in violent crime. With that in mind, Hi-Crest and a non-profit called “SENT Topeka” are working with Topeka Public Schools to make sure food is available.

“SENT will have a feeding program, that they will partner with 501 to make sure there is food in the neighborhood that they, kids can just walk here and get what they need,” Rice said.

They’re anticipating bringing the program back once funding and other resources become available.

“SENT in the past has done what they call a Launch Summer Stream program, which is kind of like a science, technology, arts, math program,” Rice said. “And so that’s something that they are really looking forward to being able to restart in the future.” 

If you would like to contribute to any of these efforts in the Hi-Crest neighborhood, the NIA meets at 6 p.m. during the fourth Wednesday of every month. The meetings are held at the Community Resources Council building.