Central is anti-gang focus

Long Beach Press Telegram

Central is anti-gang focus
By Karen Robes
Staff writer

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 – LONG BEACH — A citywide anti-gang task force will focus its outreach efforts in a Central Long Beach area that has experienced an increase in violent crimes, its members decided Monday.

The Long Beach Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Task Force agreed to test ideas, create programs and provide resources in what Long Beach Police describe as Police Beats 4, 5 and 7, an area bordered by Hill Street, Anaheim Street, Seventh Street and the southwest border of Signal Hill. The plan is to begin in these areas, which include the Hellman Street area, before broadening efforts citywide, members said.

“If we start putting out fires, we need to start with the flames that

are the highest,” said Task Force Chairman Michael Gillette.

Overall, major crime has declined citywide, but police have seen some increases in the target area, said Long Beach Police Cmdr. Keith Kilmer.

The Task Force, which formed a year ago in response to rising gang violence, plans to attack the problems by focusing on five subjects: research/resource development; parenting; youth employment; youth engagement and education; and media outreach.

The goals, prioritized during a Monday evening meeting, are wide-ranging and vary in degrees of specificity. Some can be quickly implemented, while others are long-term strategies that would require the help of various city departments and agencies, businesses, schools and the community at large. Funding sources for many programs still need to be identified.

The task force divided the work load among five different teams. Their charges are: *Research/resource. Obtain police, census and other data on crime and density; visit the area; bring key leaders together; find open spaces for parks; and find funding sources for these and other goals.

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