LA’s gang intervention strategy headed to El Salvador in new collaboration
Rina Palta (KPCC) | October 11, 2012
The Los Angeles Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) has a new $1.5 million grant that’ll take the program international.
Gang violence in L.A. has plummeted in the past couple of years. Many attribute that drop to the city’s anti-gang strategy. It focuses on casework with at-risk youth and their families and it uses violence interrupters who dispel rumors and encourage gang members not to retaliate for violence. Now, the city is expanding efforts in the LAPD’s Rampart Division. Deputy Mayor Guillermo Cespedes says a new federal grant will fund 10 people to focus on violence interruption and prevention services in Rampart area – and will provide technical assistance to collaborators in El Salvador.
The Rampart area has a high population of Latinos, particularly people with roots in El Salvador. Cespedes said it was a natural point for a strategy that GRYD has been considering for a while. El Salvador jumped to the forefront for a number of reasons.
After a series of meetings with anti-violence workers in El Salvador last year, the mayor’s office decided that collaboration could be useful. Some of El Salvador’s largest gangs, like MS 13, started in L.A. And many people, whether by immigration or deportation, travel back and forth between the Rampart area and El Salvador.
“We’ve had a significant role in exporting this culture,” Cespedes said. “And I think it’s important to take a significant role in exporting some of the solutions we’ve come up with.”
Tags: el salvador, Gang Reduction and Youth Development, gang retaliation, GRYD, LAPD Rampart Division, MS-13, retaliation, USAID, violence interrupters