BENTON HARBOR -- The Hillside neighborhood in Benton Harbor's west side is not unlike the city's other residential areas, with its closely built homes, a nearby church, elementary school and public park, and more crime, junk cars and abandoned homes than most its inhabitants care to stomach.

But last month, 20 or so of the neighborhood's most active inhabitants staked out a unique claim in the city by teaming up with the city's police department to conduct an experiment in crime reduction and neighborhood renewal.