U.S. Attorney General Tackles Gang Violence in Oakland

By CHRISTIE SMITH
May 11, 2010

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is tackling a big issue in trying to combat gang violence by is looking at strategies besides just ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ treatment.

On Tuesday, Holder visits East Oakland’s Youth Uprising on MacArthur Blvd. The center is a place of self empowerment for youth, a place where kids learn healthy lifestyles and become leaders, too.

Holder’s schedule includes meetings with youth in Oakland, the city’s mayor, new police chief and head of Oakland schools. This follows a big speech Monday in Sacramento where Holder gave the keynote address at the California Cities Gang Prevention Nework conference. Oakland is one of 13 cities participating. Holder is also expected to talk about some federal iniatives that may help.

In Oakland, crime is actually down. Police Chief Anthony Batts is trying some new strategies. They seem to be working, but there have been some equally big high-profile incidents that leave residents skeptical that change is really coming.

Last month, a street brawl broke out prompted by a shooting at an East Oakland funeral. Police believe that was gang related. There was also the recent high profile beating death of a San Francisco man who was trying to defend his adult son. Two 18-year-olds are accused in that attack.

Holder will tour Youth Uprising, meet with leaders and have a Q & A session afterward. NBC Bay Area will be there asking him as many questions as we can about tangible plans to squash violence.

We plan to see what he thinks about the other big stories heating up now: Immigration, The Supreme Court and the right to wear American flag shirts to school.

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