A Critical Look At Mayor Villaraigosa's Gang-Reduction Program

The Los Angeles crime-and-justice website WitnessLA on Monday published the first of a two-part series looking at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's $26-million-a-year gang-reduction program and whether it's worth your money. It finds that some of the youths most in need of prevention and intervention are being overlooked by the program:

" ... Gang prevention programs that may be systematically excluding many of the kids that most need their help and intervention programs that are based on a model that has little or no proven success. Further, the programs may fail to emphasize the most basic services that have been shown to help the men and women in L.A.'s most violent, troubled neighborhoods leave gang life behind."

"Some kids who deserve attention don't get anything," Terry Dunworth, the Urban Institute's researcher for evaluating the city gang program tells Witness LA. "It raises concerns. All of the kids have problems. They all deserve help. But GRYD wants to seek out only those most at risk."

Witness LA concludes that "there is no conclusive evidence that gang prevention efforts, or the Youth Services Eligibility Tool, are working."


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