CITYWIDE: BLOCK CAPTAIN PROGRAM
There does not exist a formalized community conduit system through which local improvement efforts can be effectively coordinated and neighborhood volunteerism can be maximized.
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Organized blocks are more likely to be clean and well maintained and block captains can encourage neighborhood involvement in improvement efforts and promote community activism. City support of the program could take the form of extra trash pickups, donated cleaning supplies, and annual contests for the best-maintained neighborhood blocks. Furthermore, the program could establish an organizational framework to tackle a range of diverse issues such as neighborhood watch and large-scale community clean-ups.
In Philadelphia, nearly 40 percent of city blocks have block captains. Neighborhood blocks with designated captains are generally much cleaner than those that are not organized. In 1999, Philadelphia’s Streets Department collected 1,300 tons of garbage from blocks that participated in the City’s block captain program and recruited more than 100,000 volunteers to participate in neighborhood improvement efforts.