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Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study

Interim Summary

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

to

three

target

neighborhoods.

At

these

target

areas,

local

neighborhood

leaders

got

on

the

bus

and

explained

neighborhood

problems

and

what

was

either

being

done

or

planned

to

be

done

about

them.

During

the

course

of

that

day’s

varied

activities,

and

particularly

at

a

mobilizer’s

office,

the

inter-

actions

among

city

officials,

mobilizers,

residents

of

neighborhoods,

and

kids

were each

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.

those

“signs”

that

these

people

had

been

“dealing”

with

each

other

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

with

familiarity.

This

familiarity

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-

rate.

One

assumes

and

hopes,

of

course,

that

this

network

of

relationships

also leads to problem-solving, which ultimately improves duces crime, and makes for safer, happier residents.

quality

of

life,

re-

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-

BOTEC Analysis Corporation

30

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