As part of his continued commitment to combating gang violence, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the awarding of more than $9.2 million in competitive grants to provide local assistance funding to 17 cities and 13 community-based organizations in areas with heavy concentrations of gangs. The Governor made the announcement at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Gifts for Guns event where he promoted that program for providing citizens with an incentive to surrender firearms that could potentially be stolen and used in a crime or to injure someone.
"Public safety is my highest priority and these grants are an important part of our efforts to protect our communities by providing them with the resources they need to help reduce gang violence at the local level," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "To combat gang violence, we need effective suppression, intervention, and prevention tactics--so that we are driving down violence in a smart and focused way."
The Gifts for Guns program was developed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 2005 and provides a unique opportunity for area residents to safely surrender any firearm, anonymously and without questions, to Sheriff's personnel in exchange for a $100 gift card (for any handgun or rifle) or a $200 gift card (for an assault weapon). Last year, the Sheriff's Department collected more than 3,000 guns, which are later destroyed.
Building on his administration's public safety efforts, the Governor also announced the formation of the Safe Community Partnership, a unique public-private partnership between the Governor's Office of Gang and Youth Violence Policy and three foundations that will provide technical assistance to five cities that obtained grants to implement a proven anti-violence strategy. The three participating foundations, which contributed a total of one million dollars to fund the technical assistance, are The California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region: Community Benefits Program.
"The three major foundations that are stepping up today to participate in our state's anti-gang efforts are great partners in the fight against gang violence," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "With their support, we are launching a public-private partnership that will provide technical and expert assistance to five cities with heavy concentrations of gangs to implement an anti-gang strategy proven to reduce gang violence."
The Safe Community Partnership will support a strategy widely regarded as the most effective approach to reducing gang violence. Developed in Boston in 1993 under the name Ceasefire, it has been used in various other cities, including Stockton, and has been evaluated as effective--quickly and substantially reducing gang violence with a "carrot and stick" approach. Gangs are expressly warned by law enforcement leaders that further violence will result in the prosecution of all members of the offending gang or gangs, either for the violence committed or for any other provable crime. At the same time, these gangs are offered an alternative to gang life, particularly job training and jobs.
"California is in the midst of a deadly and protracted epidemic fueled by gangs and guns," said Paul Seave, director of the Governor's Office of Gang and Youth Violence Policy. "After losing more than 15,000 lives in 30 years, our communities must implement anti-violence strategies that work. The Safe Community Partnership, combining public and private resources, will support five cities that have chosen a proven approach."
In January, the Governor's Labor and Workforce Development Agency announced <http://www.labor.ca.gov/pdf/nwsrel09-03.pdf> more than $5.4 million in competitive grants to eleven agencies to provide job training and education programs targeting youth at risk of joining gangs or seeking to leave them. Youth (aged 14-24) will receive a broad range of services, including mental health services, gang counseling, educational skills for high school graduation or GED, occupational training in business services, biotech areas and green industry apprenticeships.
Training is being provided for high-growth occupations such as weatherization, construction, concrete and landscaping, e-waste collections and conservation and energy efficiency education. Funding for these programs is drawn from the Governor's 15 percent Discretionary Workforce Investment Act funds under the administrative authority of the Employment Development Department.
Last year was the first distribution <http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/print-version/press-release/8918/> of $9.2 million in grant funding to cities and community-based organizations for gang prevention, intervention and enforcement, and $7.3 million was distributed in job training grants.
The CalGRIP strategy targeted approximately $31 million in state and federal funding last year and will direct $34.7 million this year toward local anti-gang efforts, including intervention, suppression and prevention. This includes $7 million to enhance CHP's support of local law enforcement, and an almost doubling in funding for witness protection to a total of $5.2 million.
Governor Schwarzenegger introduced the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention (CalGRIP) initiative in May of 2007 to confront the dramatic increase in gangs across the state and their proliferation in suburban and rural areas. Gangs are responsible for crimes including murder, witness intimidation, money laundering, extortion, narcotic production and sales, prostitution, human trafficking, theft and counterfeiting. In spite of an overall decrease in crime in most California cities since the 1990s, rates of gang-related violent crime remain steady.
Below is the list of grants. The Cities of Modesto, Oakland, Oxnard, Salinas and Stockton, in addition to receiving grants, will also work with the Safe Community Partnership.
CENTRAL VALLEY $2,287,057
Fresno County $703,634
City of Sanger--$398,763
CBO--Genesis Family Center--$145,107
CBO--Youth Centers of America--$159,764
City of Madera--$400,000
City of Sacramento--$400,000
San Joaquin County
City of Stockton--$400,000
City of Modesto--$383,423
BAY AREA $2,095,160
Alameda County $1,433,644
City of Hayward--$400,000
City of Oakland--$400,000
CBO--California Youth Outreach--$160,000
CBO--Oakland Private Industry Council, Incorporated--$159,541
Contra Costa County
City of Richmond--$400,000
San Francisco County
CBO--Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco--$160,000
CBO--Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County--$101,516
LOS ANGELES COUNTY $1,602,000
City of Los Angeles--$962,000
CBO--African American Unity Center--$160,000
CBO--Children's Institute, Incorporated--$160,000
CBO--Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club--$160,000
CBO--Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade--$160,000
SOUTHERN COUNTIES $1,999,690
City of Santa Ana--$400,000
San Bernardino County
City of San Bernardino--$400,000
San Diego County
City of Oceanside--$400,000
Santa Barbara County
City of Santa Barbara--$400,000
City of Oxnard--$399,690
NORTHERN COUNTIES $1,231,093
El Dorado County
CBO--Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe--$154,072
Monterey County $517,021
City of Salinas--$357,021
CBO--Second Chance Youth Program--$160,000
Santa Cruz County
City of Watsonville--$400,000
CBO--Yolo Family Resource Center--$160,000