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Keeping Kids out of Gangs

The most fruitful strategies for dealing with gangs are those which emphasize prevention and intervention. The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Jeopardy Program, established in 1988, attempts to prevent rebellious or disruptive juveniles from becoming involved in gangs. This program is designed to redirect young people at risk. It addresses adolescents who fall into the "wanna-be" category and other peripherals including younger sibling of gang members. School officials, parents and community organizations or businesses, in conjunction with LAPD, seek to balance the odds that youths in a gang dominated neighborhood will find an alternative to gangs.

Community Law Enforcement Area Recovery (C.L.E.A.R.), launched in November 1996, as part of the President’s Anti-Gang Initiative (AGI) funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) of the Department of Justice. The C.L.E.A.R. program is designed to coordinate the strategies and co-locate the resources of participating agencies to combat gang crime in Los Angeles. During the first six months that the C.L.E.A.R. program was fully operational, gang related violent crime decreased by 39 percent in the targeted area, and 35 percent in the surrounding neighborhoods. Due to the program’s success, it is anticipated that by 1998, two additional target areas will be implemented.

Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program is another tool that can be used to enhance community policing efforts by combining classroom instruction with the talents and experience of Federal, State and local law enforcement personnel who address issues relating to violent crimes and street gangs. The curriculum is taught by certified/sworn, uniformed police officers and Federal agents to elementary, junior high and middle school children. The design and intent of the G.R.E.A.T. Program is to decrease gang and youth violence across the nation. Included within the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum are many optional and extended activities which reinforce classroom instruction. Both the police officer and teacher work together to reduce gang and youth violence in the school and the community.

The Office of the City Attorney formed a Gang Unit in 1986 to combat street-gang crime. The unit is headquartered in the City Hall East, with deputies also assigned to the various other offices of the Criminal Branch. The Gang Unit is responsible for securing civil injunctions against targeted gangs and enforcing them by means of civil and criminal sanctions. The Unit is also responsible for the vertical prosecution of cases involving targeted gang members and taggers. Gang Unit attorneys participate in community forums and public hearings to advise on policies and procedures affecting gang violence. Unit attorneys train and advise law enforcement agencies in the investigation of matters handled by the Unit.

For more information, the following publications are available from the California Attorney General’s Office, Department of Justice:

Organized Crime in California, 1996: an Annual Report to the Legislature. Click above for information or write to:

Public Inquiry
Office of the Attorney General
P. O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

Crack Down on Gangs! For information write to:

Crime Prevention Center
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

Law in the School, a guide for California teachers, parents and students. Crime Prevention Center publication outlines the roles of educators, law enforcement officers, parents and others in dealing with campus crime or disciplinary problems at school. It cites relevant statutes and case law. For ordering information and current price, contact:

Department of General Services
Publications Section
P. O. Box 1015
North Highlands, CA 95660

For more information about gangs and your community, call your local: