Mayor to expand anti-gang program into Valley

By Rick Orlov, Daily News Staff Writer


Following through on a pledge made months ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday that plans are under way to soon expand the CLEAR anti-gang program to four more areas, including one in the San Fernando Valley.

At the same time, he told a group of police officers, probation officials and prosecutors involved in the eight existing CLEAR sites that more emphasis needs to be given to prevention and intervention efforts.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this situation,” he told the groups, gathered at the Ahmanson Training Center in Westchester, where they were reviewing progress in the CLEAR program.

“Suppression is one leg of the stool. We also need to develop and work on keeping kids from joining gangs.”

CLEAR, which stands for Community Law Enforcement and Recovery, brings together police officers, prosecutors, parole agents and federal law enforcement to attack gangs in specific areas.

Villaraigosa, who helped get state funding for the program when he served as Assembly speaker, said the program has proven itself over the years, with crime dropping in those regions even more than in adjoining areas.

But he said gangs continue to present a major crime problem in the city and the CLEAR program is being expanded, at a cost of $2.2 million, to include areas covered by the Mission, Southeast, Southwest and Rampart divisions.

“The chief has signed on to the importance of prevention and intervention programs,” Villaraigosa said. “We want to get that message to the officers as well because they are on the front lines of all of this.”

Villaraigosa said he would like to see programs like CLEAR developed for all areas of the city where there are indications of gang activity.

Posted by on Jul 18 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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