In another sign that officials are shifting the way they go after gangs, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says his gang task force will turn much of its focus toward prevention and intervention tactics, reports the Sacramento Bee. Johnson said the task force would embark on a three-year gang prevention effort, putting less emphasis on enforcement strategies.
Some key elements of the strategy will be implemented by dozens of law enforcement officers set to be hired with federal grants this year. Other elements of the plan involve existing literacy and internship programs.The task force is copying gang prevention ideas that have been successful in other cities, including San Jose. The task force was formed after a community outcry when two people – including a young mother – were gunned down outside a barbershop. The anti-gang plan will represent “a paradigm shift,” Johnson said. Most plans that tackle gang violence have “a heavy emphasis on incarceration and enforcement, and we don’t want that to be the focus.” Investing in school-based programs, developing strong connections between neighborhoods and law enforcement officers, job development programs, and regional collaboration among police agencies will make up the strategy.