SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law Jobs, Law News – U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan convened the Northern California Gang Prevention Summit today, bringing together leaders from the law enforcement community, elected officials, community organizations, legislators, and policy makers to discuss the rising problem of gang violence and how to prevent it.
“Gang violence tears apart our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan. “Innocent individuals and children are caught in the crossfire, and the murderous cycle of violence harms everybody in the community. When our youngest residents are being killed in the streets, we need to do something about it.”
The primary mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is to prosecute cases and to enforce the law. The office has brought significant cases against numerous gangs in Northern California. The office continues to work with law enforcement partners around Northern California to take firearms out of the hands of convicted felons.
“We hope that the panels and speakers today will provide us with a framework which we can use to develop and implement effective solutions to gang violence,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Stephen Martin. “I hope that we can work towards creating an enduring change for the betterment of our communities.”
“The senseless violence perpetrated by gang members on one another, on police officers and on innocent bystanders is horrifying,” said United States Sentator Dianne Feinstein. “Gang violence is an attack not only on individuals, but also on our communities. It stops mothers from allowing their children to play outside. It prevents the elderly from taking walks in their neighborhoods. It creates an environment of fear.”
Building a Link Between Law Enforcement and Prevention Efforts:
The Northern California Gang Prevention Summit will build a link between law enforcement and those engaged in prevention efforts to bring a united front in the common fight against gang violence.
“I believe an integrated approach is needed to combat this problem at all levels,” stated U.S. Attorney Ryan. “Since 2004, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has infused over $3 million of much needed funding into the community through our Project Safe Neighborhoods model.”
Project Safe Neighborhoods provides funding for law enforcement to weed out the worst offenders, and supplements community organizations with money to create and sustain initiatives and community organizations. Much of the $3 million has been used to fund the community groups that provide youth with alternatives to gangs. Since 2004, the following groups have received funding through Project Safe Neighborhoods:
Alameda County DA’s Office: Truancy Program
Boys and Girls Clubs of SF:
BOLT (Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow) Program
City Youth Now: Auxiliary’s Mentorship/Internship Program & Education/Literacy Fund
Contra Costa Housing Authority
East Oakland Development Center
The Mentoring Center: Pathways to Change
Oakland Gun Violence Reduction Plan
Richmond Police Department: Resources to Impact Violence in the City
San Francisco Mayor’s Office: Project GunStop
San Francisco PAL (Police Activities League): Youth Football, Cheer and Dance Program
Schools of the Sacred Heart: Community Outreach Program
Tall Ship Education Academy: Summer and Fall Program Scholarships
Volunteer Auxiliary of GC – SF: Education and Training for Youth in San Francisco Juvenile Court
Watsonville Police Department: Reducing Gun Violence
Some examples of funding include a 2004 grant of over $83,000 to support the local Pop Warner Football Team and Cheer and Dance Program. The money provided new pads for the football team and new uniforms for the group. We have funded the Building our Leaders of Tomorrow Program, or the BOLT Program, which has provided extra-curricular activities, and sent at-risk youth to a summer camp to give them an opportunity to meet and interact with other youth in a safe and positive environment.
This summit will be showcasing the ATF GREAT (Gang Resistance Education And Training) Program. Through the GREAT program, young people will get to know law enforcement officers and prosecutors through classroom instruction, which will create a bond between police and the children in the community, and will help children avoid getting involved in gangs.