An ambitious and formalized coalition is in the works in Monterey County in order to prevent gang violence, with a particular focus on the region’s youth. With a strong and broad group of interests brought together, officials hope that strategies will not only be more comprehensive but also more successful, along with a greater possibility of receiving much-needed grants. County, education and Salinas city officials will comprise the bulk of the coalition, whose efforts have resulted in a draft plan to target gang issues. The Californian reports:
“The draft plans to improve programs for young people, fight blight, develop a gun drop-off program and more will be presented to the U.S. Department of Justice in April for review. […] Its members are working with the federal government to develop the programs for Salinas and hopes that the plans can be put into place in other Monterey County communities. ‘We are starting in Salinas because that is where we can have the biggest impact,’ said Robert Reyes, Monterey County's probation services manager, pointing out that the city led the state in youth homicides per capita in 2009.”
Monterey Supervisors unanimously approved the plan, but concerns were raised that its scope was unrealistic in light of funding issues. For more, see here.
And in other gang-related news, Riverside County has received $500,000 to help tackle violence. The state funds will provide job training to youths who are classified as at-risk. Tom Freeman, spokesman for Riverside County's Economic Development Agency stated that “We are glad to receive these funds from the state. We will utilize them to help at-risk youth in the Coachella Valley and remainder of the county. This will serve as a strong crime deterrent and we will make every effort to deter our young men and women from affiliating with gangs.” For more on the state funding, which is also going to 8 other counties, see here.