Burlington deserves safer neighborhoods. Most of the crime here in the Old North End and downtown area is tied directly to the skyrocketing problems of drug abuse, mental illness and poverty. Break-ins are up and medicine cabinets have become the prime target as the rise of prescription drugs fuel both the addiction and the blackmarket for them.

If we want safer neighborhoods here in Burlington we must start with treatment. Luckily, we already have a nationally recognized program that is giving addicts a second chance at becoming productive members of society. The Chittenden County Rapid Intervention Community Court (RICC) has received a national award for changing the face of how our community deals with crime. Instead of simply throwing more struggling members of community behind bars, the RICC utilizes treatment programs, community organizations and other resources to help get people back on their feet, in the workforce and giving back to the community.