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Mayor defends his anti-gang plan

first_imgAsked about Freeman’s comments during a separate event outside Parker Center, the mayor said his intervention and prevention plan is the best chance to curb the growing problem of gang violence. “We gleaned the best practices from around the country,” he said. “Nobody is arguing there is anything new here, but it’s the first time that we are coordinating. “People are going to have these questions and should ask these questions. But we are putting $16 million – where we don’t have very much money in our budget – where for the first time we are coordinating with intervention, prevention, suppression and not (just) leading with suppression.” In a 40-page report that outlines his strategy, Villaraigosa lists dozens of programs, including those designed to provide a combination of prevention, intervention and services. There also is information from a 2003 Department of Justice Department program that targets a high-poverty, low-income neighborhood in Boyle Heights. Police Commissioner Alan Skobin called the mayor’s plan an “important first step” in what will likely be a long process in curbing gang violence. “What’s different is that there’s an enhanced focus and prioritization … Anytime you focus on a problem you are going to get better results,” he said. “We have budget constraints and personnel constraints. You cannot turn around in one week or one month what was put together in decades – the programs and the gang problem.” [email protected] (818)713-3741 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa found himself defending his week-old gang-reduction plan Tuesday after a Police Commission member questioned its scope and effectiveness. The plan was included in the mayor’s State of the City address and includes the delineation of eight gang-reduction zones, the creation of 10,000 youth jobs and the appointment of a high-level administrator to coordinate anti-gang operations. But Police Commissioner Shelley Freeman complained that the plan relies heavily on existing intervention programs, with funding coming from federal and state grants that often have strings attached. “It feels like we are doing a lot the same,” she said. “Many of these programs have been in existence for a very long time, some of them are new. But most of these programs have been going on for many years and I would argue that some of them work and some of them don’t work.” last_img read more