Anti-gang program in Denver draws Justice Department’s attention

Felisa Cardona (The Denver Post) | October 26, 2011

Eradicating 78 gangs in Denver isn’t going to happen simply by locking people up and throwing away the key.

Gang prevention, intervention and suppression must work together to keep the problem under control and move people out of the criminal lifestyle, said Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole, who was visiting the city Tuesday.

“You can’t just fight it by arresting people and throwing them in jail,” he said during remarks at CMS Community School in southwest Denver.

Cole came from Washington in support of a U.S. Department of Justice-funded program aimed at reducing gangs in Denver.

The Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver was started by city officials four years ago and particularly targets youth and families with multiple generations affiliated with gangs.

City and state officials from police to probation to parole have met with leaders of parks and recreation, mental-health agencies and schools to find creative ways to fight the gang problem.

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