Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study
During the first visit to Columbia, the evaluator met with newly appointed mobilizers in their areas and rode in a bus with city officials and mobilizers
observed. It was other, interacted
obvious these varied groups had a history: they knew casually yet purposefully, referred to previous experi-
ences—all over time.
Many of the same people Neighborhoods (CCN) and
attended a meeting of the the interactions there were
Columbia Council of also similarly strong.
Council representatives knew one
another and had the “patter” that goes was shared by city officials and police.
These solid interactions between the varied groups impressed the importance of a successful formula. If a city combines: 1) effective city leadership (mayor, city manager, police chief, director of housing, etc.); 2) governmental organizations, and functionaries in them, that have a common purpose under this leadership; 3) mature citizen organizations that have gone beyond both infighting and confrontation (as their sole tactic); and, 4) manageable city size, then the CCP will develop the ability to overcome obstacles and collabo-
also leads to problem-solving, which ultimately improves duces crime, and makes for safer, happier residents.
Columbia conveyed the impression that a common vision of a plan for action had developed among community leaders, bureaucrats, and citizens. A con- sensus had been established which, given the size of the city and its prob- lems, included a conviction that problems were manageable. This agreement and outlook proved infectious. In other words, early in the research phase, it appeared obvious that Columbia could make significant progress to control crime and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods.
Over time, this view has persisted—if anything, it has been strengthened. One almost got the feel of a “community action team” when dealing with Co- lumbia’s officials, but with important and impressive distinction that they were operating on a city-wide level. Meetings attended by the city manager, the deputy city manager, a police sergeant, patrol officers (mobilizers), staff of community development and other city agencies were characterized by the non-authoritarian and open nature of the “team.” Discussions over questions about the future role of the mobilizer were thoughtful, responsible, and in-
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