The government has announced 40 "respect zones" in England which will receive extra funding to fight anti-social behaviour.
The areas chosen had problems such as truancy and deprivation
They will provide parenting classes, meetings between police and the public and "intervention projects", to tackle so-called "neighbours from hell".
Prime Minister Tony Blair said that "nothing works" if communities are not involved in fighting crime.
But the Tories dismissed the zones, which will get £6m, as a "gimmick".
The areas were chosen for reasons including high levels of deprivation, crime, truancy and school exclusion.
Downing Street's "respect tsar", Louise Casey, said: "We want the 40 areas to show how we can take the programme forward and point people in the right direction as well as keeping up the unrelenting drive to tackle anti-social behaviour.
"These are the areas that are doing parenting classes and family projects that tackle the really, really difficult people in our communities."
Last year, figures revealed about half of all anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) given out in England and Wales had been breached.
Mr Blair marked the announcement of the zones by attending a "face-the-people" session in Brighton, one of the cities taking part.
He said: "We can do a certain amount from the centre, in terms of resources and the police can do a certain amount.
"But if the local community isn't part of the deal then nothing works."
Mr Blair said there was a "small" number of families where "children haven't been brought up properly" and who made lives "hell".
He added: "We are not demonising them. We are simply asking that the local community can get to have the power to make these people conform [to expected levels of behaviour] or face the consequences."
The situation was "not just as it was decades ago," he added, saying that government needed more feedback to fight the problem.
Home Secretary John Reid said: "Respect is a national programme and we expect all areas to play their part.
"We have had many successes but we recognise we have a long way to go to drive this problem from our towns and cities."
"There are no more excuses for local services not to take action to create stronger, safer communities."
Government figures show a 90% increase in acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs), with more than 18,000 used over the last three years.
The Home Office said the 40 respect areas were not the worst in England and Wales for anti-social behaviour but had been chosen from a longer list of those with significant challenges.
Shadow police minister Nick Herbert said: "The government has cut 4,000 promised police community support officers from the forces covering these so-called 'respect areas'.
"Communities don't want gimmicks like 'respect handbooks' - they want police officers on their streets to take real action against anti-social behaviour.
"Today's announcement conspicuously omits any reference to Asbos - hardly surprising when over half are breached and teenagers now treat them as a badge of honour."
However, Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton dismissed critics of the zones plan, saying: "They are the people who throw their hands up and say 'Nothing can be done' and I think what we've been demonstrating - what people locally have been demonstrating - is that a difference can be made.
"And, rather than walk away from this problem, and concede defeat, we've got to deal with it and we've got to win this battle against anti-social behaviour and I'm sure that people locally will want to get behind this."
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