Los Angeles County supervisors have approved a multiagency pilot program to combat gang activity in four targeted communities, says the Los Angeles Times. County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka and Sheriff Lee Baca said the plan focuses on improving coordination of services, such as law enforcement, probation, and social services, for at-risk youth in those areas. The overhaul was spurred by the release of a scathing report two years ago by the Advancement Project, an L.A. public policy nonprofit. The report, commissioned by the city, called for a massive, regional effort to fight gang culture within neighborhoods. “Whether there’s anything good that comes out of it will depend mightily on whether Bill Fujioka can get across that this isn’t just about cobbling together existing programs — it’s about changing how the county works,” said project director Connie Rice.
Fujioka said he chose two of the neighborhoods involved because it would show how the new strategy can work in gang-plagued areas and those areas where gangs are at a tipping point. They are located near two of the dozen “gang- reduction zones” targeted by the city of Los Angeles, neighborhoods where gang violence is four times the citywide average. L.A. Deputy Mayor Jeff Carr urged the county to start small. “There are cities and counties all over the state who are looking at what we are doing,” Carr said. “We have been known as the gang capital of the country. Maybe as we move forward we can be known for coming up with unique solutions.”