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City leaders tackle gang problem

June 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Top officials of the Los Angeles Police Department, religious leaders and concerned community members gathered for a meeting on gang violence Saturday morning. City officials say gang problems can't be solved without the help of the community.

Earlier this week a public pool in Watts was briefly closed because of violent attacks by gang members.

The pool has reopened but is now being patrolled by LAPD officers and volunteers.

We thought we were further along than that, but this week's issue is confirmation that we need to be here this morning to talk once again about how we prevent something like that from happening." said LAPD chief William Bratton.

"The only way to reclaim that park is reclaiming it with the neighborhoods and with the clergy, with the faith community. With mothers and families saying no you can't have this park." Said mayor Antonio Villiaragosa.

The mayor said gang violence has decreased significantly in the last six years but there's still a lot of work to be done. The religious leaders believe it's crucial for the community to get involved.

Clergy members plan to establish 10 block safety zones around churches in troubled communities to help fight gang violence.

As long as nobody's doing anything, the gangs are free to roam up and down the streets, recruit members but we've got to pull our kids back." Said Rev. Frederick Murph of the Brookins Community Church.

"This is not necessarily only to reach out to gang members but to reach out to the other young people who find themselves in a position of compromise and prevent them from getting into gangs." Said LAPD assistant chief Earl Paysinger.

Saturdays meeting was the first of three planned meetings to tackle the gang issue.

 

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