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City Can't Afford Not to Keep Heat On : Anaheim Was Winning War on Crime in Jeffrey-Lynne--Now Is No Time to Retreat

June 24, 1990

A six-month pilot program to step up law enforcement in Anaheim's troubled Jeffrey-Lynne neighborhood--known by its residents as "Tijuanita," or Little Tijuana--ended this spring. Some say that the concentrated foot patrols and mobile units made a lasting difference. Others fear that the old criminal activity, which had dipped during the pilot project, is creeping back.

The problem is that Anaheim says it can't afford to keep up the special level of policing in one area. It's reassigning the unit of five officers to target 10 neighborhoods that have high crime rates, including Jeffrey-Lynne. But the success of the Jeffrey-Lynne project makes it clear just how valuable such a concentration of effort was for the community. At the risk of losing all progress, there's really no turning back. There may be some middle ground possible--say, fewer officers than before but better organized and trained neighborhood watch groups to work with police.

Jeffrey-Lynne--a five-square-block area near the Disneyland Hotel--was chosen for the pilot program because it's one of Anaheim's worst crime and poverty pockets. Families were crowded into run-down apartments amid drug-dealing, prostitution and other criminal activity.

The community policing unit put residents, many of whom were without telephones or were afraid, within easy reach of police help. At the same time the policing program was launched, the city boosted other services. Building inspectors found 5,000 code violations and ordered landlords to make repairs. A social services office was opened.

As a result of the city's effort, residents felt safer. A police officer driving through in a patrol car reported that people waved, a sign residents who were once suspicious of police now welcome them.

It's also a sign for the city. It should find a way to continue its successful community policing program in Jeffrey-Lynne.

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