New chief takes on L.A. gang fight

first_imgBut school attendance and prison recidivism rates could be clear indicators, he said. Also, City Controller Laura Chick is auditing the city’s anti-gang program, which could lead to other recommendations. Carr is a former chief operating officer of a liberal evangelical group based in Washington, D.C. He also headed the Bresee Foundation providing healthcare, job skills and other services in southern parts of Los Angeles. Carr said he is still learning his way around City Hall and the various social agencies and community groups in the city. For decades, the city’s gang problem has been attacked on various fronts by more than a dozen agencies from federal law enforcement to grass-roots gang intervention groups like Communities in Schools in North Hills. The city itself has nearly two dozen anti-gang programs. LOS ANGELES – A few blocks from a shootout between gang members and police on Thursday, newly appointed gang czar Jeff Carr started his first day on the job with a promise to boost gang suppression. Acknowledging the tough challenge ahead, Carr said it would take a long, concerted effort to rid the streets of gang crime. Named last month by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to lead a citywide gang intervention and prevention drive, Carr said he hopes to flood high-gang areas with badly needed resources. And in the long term, reduce gang violence. Carr is finalizing his budget and it is unclear how he will measure his success. Carr has repeatedly said it’s often easier to measure failure, such as crimes, than it is to measure success, such as the number of kids steered away from a life of crime. But for the most part, agencies have been unable to make a dent, as gang membership has swollen to beyond 40,000 and the problem continues to spread across the city and country. “What his biggest challenge is going to be is rising above the bureaucratic nonsense and taking control over the programs and department personnel who are needed to reduce violence,” said Connie Rice, a civil rights lawyer who authored a report on the city’s gang programs. She found the maze of anti-gang programs inefficient. If Carr is to be effective, she said, he will have to listen to interventionists and academics who better understand how gang influence ricochets through a community rather than the half dozen politicians who have adopted their own plans. His chief task will be to implement Villaraigosa’s strategy to target eight “gang reduction zones” including one in the Northeast Valley by flooding them with social and police services. The plan is part of a larger one unveiled with Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton in February that included creating a most wanted list of gangs and gang members. Since then, violent gang crime in the Valley, which had risen in 2006 by 44 percent, has not abated. (818) 713-3000160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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