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Authors: Harvey Simon
Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1991

Abstract

When the trade in crack cocaine spills over into a previously safe and calm lower-middle class black neighborhood in the District of Columbia, resourceful and courageous residents try novel ways to halt the drug traffic. Among other tactics, they set up chairs on street corners known for drug transactions and, adorned with bright orange hats, use video cameras to intimidate buyers and sellers alike. But despite dissatisfaction with previous police response to their problems, the neighborhood comes to believe that it must find a way to forge an alliance with local law enforcement authorities. In telling the story of a community''s successful effort to build such a working relationship and to drive out the drug trade, the case allows for discussion of the ways in which government should view informal community groups, mistakes that each could make and, finally in this case, the reasons the two were able to work together.

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Abstract

When the trade in crack cocaine spills over into a previously safe and calm lower-middle class black neighborhood in the District of Columbia, resourceful and courageous residents try novel ways to halt the drug traffic. Among other tactics, they set up chairs on street corners known for drug transactions and, adorned with bright orange hats, use video cameras to intimidate buyers and sellers alike. But despite dissatisfaction with previous police response to their problems, the neighborhood comes to believe that it must find a way to forge an alliance with local law enforcement authorities. In telling the story of a community''s successful effort to build such a working relationship and to drive out the drug trade, the case allows for discussion of the ways in which government should view informal community groups, mistakes that each could make and, finally in this case, the reasons the two were able to work together.

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