Jan. 29, 2015 (San Diego) Staff presented a report to the Livable Neighborhoods Committee on the implementation of a strategic plan. This was approved in Sep. 2014, and implemented wide spread interventions.
The idea behind the commission is to prevent crime, not to react to crime. In particular it is to prevent gang activity.
The commission told the Committee that the plan has been implemented, and at this time there is a program though parks and rec, which is 8 weeks long. At a cost of 40,000, they would like to expand it to 8 more weeks.
Currently the Police Department has one diversion officer, but they recommend hiring a second one. The cost, which includes training and fringe benefits, would come to $250,000. The commission is also looking for alternate funding avenues, including grants.
They also would like to see the Gang Violence Interruption model intensified, at a cost of $315,000. This includes, among other things, interventions that use Trauma Informed Care. It also includes interventions at the neighborhood level to help communities deal with the trauma brought by gang violence.
Gang activity is also down in the city, and the program, which also has youth development work and help with employment, is part of it. Keeping youth engaged keeps them off the streets and away from gangs. Suffice it to say, youth unemployment is higher than general unemployment.
According to a recent study, San Diego’s rate of unemployment or out of school between 16-24 year old youth is 11.1 percent. While among the lowest in large urban areas it still remains a priority.
Gang violence in San Diego peaked in 2003; partly because of the work of this commission. In general crime continues to go down, and according to Chief Shelley Zimmerman, “crime overall was reduced by 13.5 percent.” The specifics are to come later, since the Department is finalizing the data. The specifics as to types of crimes will be briefed in February to the committee.
Specifically as to gangs, the Chief also said that they work with other entities in the county, including the Department of Corrections. The reason is that it is best to prevent crime than to respond to it.
Reporting San Diego wrote on the County diversion program for at very high-risk youth in 2014. This program, while we did not ask the Chief specifically, was first implemented in the core of the city of San Diego.
The City of San Diego will once again apply for a California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Program grant. This is partly to help fund this program.
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