Earlier this month, the Sacramento City Council approved Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Strategic Plan for Gang Prevention 2012-2015, which reportedly represents a major step in the mayor’s efforts to address gang and youth violence in Sacramento, according to an official press release.

The plan is geared towards identifying and implementing effective methods and initiating policy changes to support local practice, and is a direct result of over 18 months of extensive community input through community forums, focus groups, informational interviews and stakeholder meetings and is based on reconnecting with Sacramento’s at-risk and gang involved youth by aligning the goals and strategies with other initiatives and leveraging resources with all key partners.

Click here to view the plan.

This plan features several guiding principles that include: Meaningful Community Engagement, Strengthening Cross-System Efficacy, Accountability, and Incorporating a Public Health Approach to Gang Prevention. The plan’s framework will build upon four focus areas: Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and Re-Entry.

Goals of the plan are:

SCHOOL BASED APPROACH
*Strengthen community capacity to address gang involvement and create safe neighborhoods

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
*Provide workforce readiness and other positive alternatives for at risk youth

WORKFORCE READINESS
*Provide workforce readiness and other positive alternatives for at risk youth

REGIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
*Develop regional collaboration towards enforcement, awareness and evaluation

In February 2011, City of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson established the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force to address gang-related issues facing the City of Sacramento. The purpose of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force was to bring together community/faith-based organizations, neighborhood leaders, school officials, government and all stakeholders within the Sacramento community to address the spike in incidents related to youth and gang violence.

The Gang Prevention Task Force was tasked with facilitating the community discussion on youth and gang violence and, with Mayor Johnson’s guidance, a comprehensive citywide gang prevention strategic plan was developed.

Current data shows that the age group committing the highest number of crimes including homicides, shootings and violent assaults, are between 16-24 years of age. The best indicator of this is believed to be the total numbers of youth being served by local youth service providers.

With just under a half million people and growing, Sacramento is faced with many challenges contributing to the youth and gang violence problem including; poverty and unemployment; high truancy and dropout rates; family structure; and gaps in programs and services. The number of validated gang members has increased tenfold since 2003.

The Sacramento Police Department’s (SPD) Gang Suppression Unit has identified more than 95 active criminal street gang sets, with over 4,600 validated street gang members. About 25% of these validated members are juveniles.

The comprehensive plan approved by City Council today is designed to allow the City, its stakeholders, its partners, and the community to assume responsibility and accountability for the safety, health, and welfare of our youth, families, and neighborhoods.

For more information, visit www.cityofsacramento.org.

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