Some ways to halt gangs in our city

first_img Expose the myth of “blood in – blood out” with L.A’s media to encourage gang members to quit their gangs. Here’s a cause big enough for all our entertainers and athletes, politicians and clergy, billboards, radio, television and community events. Stop using ex-gangster organizations as leaders and spokesmen for gang prevention. Almost without exception, these groups are anti-law enforcement and preach a quasi-religious doctrine of racist paranoia about our justice system. Many activities and philosophies implemented by these groups during the past decade have made the gang problem much worse. Gang summit meetings, peace treaties and gang sports have only served to legitimize and glamorize the criminal lifestyle. Contrary to popular perception, gangs are not tightly-knit cohesive groups, but loosely organized lost children. Use L.A.’s faith community to offer free child care to every low-income, unwed mother under 30 who is employed or going to school. All it would require to provide this life-changing opportunity would be for each of our 2,000-plus churches, mosques and temples to commit their millions of members to opening facilities two days per week to a maximum of six children each. Get a commitment from Los Angeles Unified School District to require mandatory drug testing for all extracurricular activities. There’s almost a 100 percent correlation between drug/alcohol abuse and gang involvement. Stop seeing graffiti as a minor crime, and start enforcing the law. Any criminal activity that costs Angelenos $55 million a year, spreads racist sentiments and incites deadly violence is done by committed, arrogant criminals. When we start treating and punishing them as such, gangs will lose their ability to freely publicize their presence and activity. Our goal should not be to reduce or manage our gang activity, but to totally dissolve it. A radical commitment to gang prevention ideas like these would do just that – rapidly – and thus transform our city and our future. Paul D. White is the co-founder of West Valley Leadership Academy in Canoga Park.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The failed programs and millions of dollars wasted by the L.A. Bridges gang prevention program over the last decade are a good thing. Hopefully, it means that Los Angeles leaders are ready to stop pursuing strategies and activities that have never really worked. Perhaps now they will be more receptive to proven anti-gang ideas that attack the root causes of gang activity, ideas that could have L.A. gangster-free in three years or less. Hold accountable the homes that breed and harbor gang members. A fast track for court hearings must be established to prosecute parents who provide safe havens for minors involved in gangs, crime and the drug trade. Parenting classes must be mandated for every parent of every child convicted of a crime. Commit the majority of gang prevention funding to subsidizing quality job and internship opportunities. The money wasted on the L.A. Bridges program during the last 10 years would have provided every juvenile gang member in L.A. with three hours of supervised work after school every school day for an entire school year at $10 per hour. These jobs would be available only to gang members who voluntarily tested clean for drugs, attended school regularly, passed their classes and stayed out of trouble. last_img read more