The U.S. Justice Department is implementing a model gang reduction program in four places: Los Angeles, Richmond, Milwaukee, and North Miami Beach, Fl. The cities were selected in 2003, but the $168 million Los Angeles version was launched just four months ago. The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention gave no reason for the delay. The program incorporates research-based interventions to address the range of personal, family, and community factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency and gang activity.
As described by the Justice Department, the program focuses on the entire population in high-crime, high-risk communities, provides services for high-risk youth ages 7-14, addresses active gang members and their close associates “to provide a combination of services and opportunities while holding these youth accountable for their actions,” includes aggressive prosecution, and deals with re-entry problems after confinement. Since 2003, such a program in Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood has contributed to a 44-percent reduction in gang crime. An evaluation by the Washington-based Urban Institute is due in late 2008.