Network of California Cities Combats Gang Violence

By Karpman, Michael | Nation's Cities Weekly, September 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

Network of California Cities Combats Gang Violence


Karpman, Michael, Nation's Cities Weekly


NLC has initiated a network of major cities in California to combat gang violence and victimization.

This new California City Gang Prevention Network, the first of its kind in the nation, will focus on successful policies and practices that interweave prevention, intervention, enforcement and a community's "moral voice" as an alternative to prison-only solutions.

NLC is partnering with the Oakland-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) to launch the three-year project with support from the California Wellness Foundation.

Participating cities in California will include Fresno, Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley), Oakland, Richmond, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Rosa and Stockton. Insights from this effort will be shared broadly with other communities in California and throughout the nation.

"Mayors and other city leaders across America have no higher priority than building safe and healthy communities," said NLC First Vice President Bart Peterson, mayor of Indianapolis. "NLC is determined to help cities keep their young people out of gangs and protect their residents from gang-related violence in their neighborhoods.

"We see this as the first in a series of initiatives sponsored by NLC to assist municipal leaders in addressing a variety of public safety problems. With the assistance of our partners, this network will allow us to focus attention on one geographic area and develop workable strategies that can be shared and used across the country."

Collaboration Between and Within Cities

Led by the mayor's office and law enforcement officials, each city will assemble a five-member team that includes key stakeholders such as probation and public health offices, schools, community-based organizations and the faith community. The teams will work together to develop or refine comprehensive, locally appropriate action plans addressing gang violence.

Through inter-city collaboration, information sharing among peers and technical assistance from NCCD and NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, the project offers city teams the opportunity to learn and share successful anti-gang strategies and to help frame state-level policies that assist local efforts.

"At a recent summit on violent crime, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton warned of a 'gathering storm of crime,'" noted John Calhoun, a senior NLC consultant who helped design the initiative, and who is also former president of the National Crime Prevention Council and former U.S. Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families. …

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