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City Officials Accept Helen Putnam Award

City officials accepted the Helen Putnam award Tuesday from the League of California Cities representatives, in recognition of the work city staff has done in east Newhall.

The award is given annually by the League of California Cities to honor efforts by civic government that: improve the quality of life in local communities, Implement efficiencies in service delivery and operations or provide services responsive to the local community. There are 10 recipients for 2012, according to the league’s website.

“This year, the city of Santa Clarita received (the award) for a program we call Neighborhood Services Team and Outreach program,” said Gail Ortiz, city spokeswoman.

“We met with tremendous by using a one-on-one approach,” Ortiz said, explaining the program. “They wanted to address important issues such as crime, gang, graffiti and blight.”

The “Neighborhood Services Team and Outreach Program” was the winner in the Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement category.

City officials were able to several statistics as proof of the program’s efficacy.

In just one year, the city saw an 8-percent increase in youth attendance at the Newhall Community Center as a result of additional programming and classes by the Neighborhood Services Team.

 In 2011, part one crimes, including homicide, robbery and grand theft, decreased 34 percent in the area; while part two crimes like vandalism, narcotics and weapon charges decreased by nearly 19 percent, according to city statistics.

More than 80 percent of residents who received citations in East Newhall came into compliance with the city’s municipal code, compared with earlier attempts, which were less than 40 percent successful.