The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), in partnership with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), hosted a two-part webcast and satellite broadcast titled "Preventing Gangs in Our Communities." The webcasts, which were originally broadcast live on May 23 and June 6, are available for online viewing at www.DOJconnect.com.
Each webcast features a panel of gang specialists from federal and local law enforcement agencies and community and faith-based organizations. Discussion focuses on what law enforcement and communities are doing to share gang-prevention responsibilities. The webcasts should be of particular interest to law enforcement professionals; community and faith-based groups; state, tribal and local government executives; criminal justice professionals and educators; and other youth-serving professionals.
A Justice Department Priority
"Every American deserves to live free from the fear of violent crime. One way we are achieving this goal is through Project Safe Neighborhoods."
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
Gangs have become an increasingly dangerous threat to the safety and security of our nation's communities. On February 15, 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales unveiled his plan to combat gang violence across America. The Attorney General's strategy is twofold: First, prioritize prevention programs to provide America's youth and offenders returning to the community with opportunities that help them resist gang involvement; and second, ensure robust enforcement policies when gang-related violence does occur.
The Attorney General's Anti-Gang initiative will build on the effective partnerships and strategies developed through the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program by dedicating approximately $30 million in grant funding to support PSN anti-gang enforcement and prevention efforts and to provide training and technical assistance. "Gun crime and gang violence are shattering communities across the Nation," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales at the PSN National Conference in Denver, CO, on May 2. "The Justice Department and our partners in the Project Safe Neighborhoods program are committed to preventing illegal gun crime and prosecuting violent offenders who break our laws and harm our citizens."
In addition, the department will establish comprehensive anti-gang initiatives in six locations: Los Angeles, CA; Tampa, FL; Cleveland, OH; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Milwaukee, WI; and the "222 Corridor" that stretches from Easton to Lancaster, PA, near Philadelphia. The department is committing approximately $2.5 million in grant funding to prevention, enforcement, and offender reentry initiatives in each of these areas.
Finally, since combating gang violence can only be done by working in partnership with state and local law enforcement and community organizations, the Attorney General directed each U.S. Attorney to convene a Gang Prevention Summit in his or her district designed to explore additional opportunities in the area of gang prevention. These summits are to be held in the next 8 months and will bring together law enforcement and community leaders to discuss best practices, identify gaps in services, and create a prevention plan to target at-risk youth within their individual communities.
OJJDP's Gang Prevention Initiatives
OJJDP's efforts to address the problem of gangs in the nation's communities include the Gang Reduction Program. The program is designed to reduce gang activity in targeted neighborhoods by incorporating a broad spectrum of research-based interventions to address the range of personal, family, and community factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency and gang activity. The program integrates local, state, and federal resources to incorporate state-of-the-art practices in prevention, intervention, and suppression. The online Community Guide to Helping America's Youth can be used to assist in developing comprehensive approaches to addressing gangs and other youth issues.
In addition, OJJDP supports the National Youth Gang Center, which provides information, resources, and tools to help policymakers, practitioners, and researchers develop and implement effective, community-based gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies. To help reduce youth involvement in gangs and gang-related crime, the Center provides training, technical assistance, information on promising programs, and other resources. The Center also conducts annual surveys of youth gang activity. For answers to frequently asked questions about youth gangs, visit the National Youth Gang Center's Web site at http://www.iir.com/nygc/.
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