Best Practices

Mayor Tom Daley

Neighborhood Improvement Process

Like many mid-sized cities throughout the nation, Anaheim has been grappling with the twin problems of gangs and drugs among the city's youth. In response to these problems, Anaheim formed a Citizen Anti-Gang and Drug Task Force which developed a strategy for the city government to work with residents, property owners, schools, churches, and non-profit organizations to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods affected by gang and drug problems and other social problems. This strategy articulated the Neighborhood Improvement Process, a comprehensive system to stabilize neighborhoods and free them of the gang/drug plague.

The Neighborhood Improvement Process involves residents, apartment owners, school personnel, businesses and churches which have a "stake" in a specific targeted neighborhood. In addition, an interdepartmental team of city staff members, including the Police, Community Development, Code Enforcement, and Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Departments is closely involved in organizing and overseeing the process. Once a neighborhood's stakeholders have been identified and organized, a series of neighborhood meetings are held to develop a needs assessment and action plan through identifying key neighborhood issues, solutions and responsibilities. After the needs assessment and action plan is developed, a neighborhood advisory committee, composed of residents, apartment owners, city staff, and school representatives, is created to oversee implementation of the action plan, report back to their respective groups, and identify new neighborhood issues that may surface.

The Neighborhood Improvement Process occurs in five phases:

  1. Development of neighborhood profile through identification and analysis of demographics, crime statistics, neighborhood leadership, physical characteristics, and active community resources.

  2. Facilitation of neighborhood meetings and development of neighborhood leadership and neighborhood improvement action plan.

  3. Identification of community resources to finance neighborhood improvement action plan and social service organizations and church groups which provide services to neighborhood; implementation of neighborhood improvement action plan and development of evaluation process.

  4. Implementation of neighborhood improvement action plan evaluation process and development of ongoing "neighborhood maintenance" plan.

  5. Implementation of neighborhood improvement maintenance plan. The Anti-Gang/Drug Committee has identified 24 neighborhoods for implementation of the Neighborhood Improvement Process; the process is currently underway in six neighborhoods. The pilot neighborhood, Jeffrey/Lynne, was plagued by gangs, drugs, prostitution, deteriorating housing, and a myriad of other social problems. Currently in the maintenance phase (the fifth phase) of the process, this neighborhood has experienced a dramatic turnaround in the form of reduced crime, enhanced community involvement, and stabilization.
Contact: Office of Neighborhood Services, (714) 254-4456

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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