Salinas developing own gang strategy
JULIA REYNOLDS (The Herald, Monterey County ) | March 23, 2011
A year and a half after state and federal officials criticized Salinas leaders for having no plan to deal with gang violence, the city has come up with a strategy based on community input and the data-crunching assistance of the Naval Postgraduate School and other institutions.
The plan, Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue said, reflects the community’s determination to stop youth violence.
“I’ve been mayor for four years and there’s been no break in anyone’s resolve on this issue,” he said. “Even with a downturn in the economy, no one has said ‘oh well.’ There’s just a clear understanding we’ve got to keep going.”
The Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, a coalition of local agencies focused on youth violence, took on the task of crafting the 26-page draft document after a 2009 summit in which a U.S. attorney and the state’s gang czar said the city lacked a strategic plan to deal with gangs.
The plan comes after a year of community meetings and forging pro bono partnerships with NPS and the Oakland-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
The strategy recommends one entity to oversee and evaluate the city’s anti-violence efforts. The plan requires keeping youth as the city’s focus and maintaining “deep and meaningful engagement” with the community.
What the draft plan doesn’t do is lay out next steps — for that, an action plan is expected to be finished in May.