San Jose Holds 8th Annual Crime and Gang Prevention Summit

In a sustained effort to reduce youth involvement in gangs and generate awareness, the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force will host the Eighth Annual Crime and Gang Prevention Summit on Saturday at San Jose City College.

In 2013, there were a reported 6,522 validated gang members in San Jose, according to city officials, and 10 out of 45 homicides that year were gang-related. Also in 2013, there were a reported 102 gangs in San Jose, and 200 in Santa Clara County. Community advocates have credited the mayor’s task force with reducing gang activity in recent years.

Established in 1991, former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer created the task force to provide a coordinated interagency response to gang-related incidents. The eighth annual summit will feature a variety of workshops and resources to get the community engaged. Representatives from the city, nonprofit organizations and local residents will be in attendance to promote alternatives to gang-involvement.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jerry Tello, an internationally recognized expert in family, fatherhood, community peace and mobilization, will open the summit. Past speakers have included reformed gang member Fabian Dabor and pastor Sonny Lara, a well-known gang prevention activist.

Outreach will focus on violence prevention, intervention issues and mending relationships with respect to targeted cultures. Workshop topics include:

  • The Compadres Network: Cultura, hope & culturally rooted concepts of El Hombre Noble (The Noble Man)
  • Faith Response Team: The role of faith communities in responding to and preventing youth  violence
  • Gang Awareness 101: Realities of being in a gang, common indicators, and intervention efforts
  • Gender Responsive Model: Responding proactively to emerging gang trends involving females
  • The Overfelt Project: How changes in school culture lead to changes in behavior
  • Police/ Community Relations: Building community through accountability

Community events such as gun buybacks, re-entry resources and volunteer coordinated activities like graffiti removal and mural replacement programs have resulted from partnerships formed at the annual summits.


  1. Why have a “gang prevention summit” when SJPD no longer has a Gang Unit? The police staffing shortage forced disbanding of the Gang Unit because officers were needed to help back-fill sparse beat patrol.

    The 2 proactive street enforcement level anti-gang units, VCET (Violent Crime Enforcement Team) and the Metro unit have been gone for a long time. As well, in order to add a gang enhancements to a criminal charge, the suspect must be a “validated gang member” and validating someone as a gang member takes intensive investigation by investigators devoted to gang related investigations. SJPD does not have any of those anymore either.

    Maybe the mayor should have some gang-bangers attend the conference and talk about gang activity on the streets of San Jose. There sure as hell aren’t any cops available to do it anymore.

    • A quick clarification: gang enhancements (PC 186.22 (a) and (b))can, and often are, added to crimes alleged by people not validated. The process to validate someone is actually very easy and does not require intensive investigation or a uniquely qualified officer-although intensive investigations into crimes may reveal info or expose people new to police.

      • Doesn’t do much good to put an enhancement on when you have a governor and president turning these people loose early, “Catch and Release” and now giving them back their voting rights.
        Is this country going third world or what?

      • Wow. What is your shortcut for validating someone as a gang member or for establishing that a group does constitute a criminal gang within the meaning of the statute? .

        It would be fantastic if you could show your quick and “very easy” way to prove that someone, even someone who may not be an actual gang member, committed a crime for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with the gang; and that the crimes were committed with the specific intent to promote, further or assist in criminal conduct by gang members.

        If you can do this in a way that does not require any specialized knowledge, training, experience or expertise and is not too time intensive, you should run right down to the gang summit and tell the police how to do it. I’m sure they could use the help.

          • Mr. Empty G,

            Checking the side of the neck for tattoos sounds like sage advice. However,an officer would have to have a certain expertise so as to be able to articulate that those tattoos were indicative of gang membership.

            I have also been told that it is sometimes difficult to see the side of a gang member’s neck when one’s forearm is pressed firmly against one side of that particular neck and squeezing it toward the bicep which is pressing firmly against the opposite side of the neck in a sort of scissor configuration while one’s elbow is simultaneously in line with the gang member’s chin and sternum.

            Maybe I misunderstood my source but he said he has run into this particular problem several times as a result of a gang member’s failure to communicate.

          • Mr. Empty G,

            Rather than a megaphone or a flash bang, which would be far too insensitive, I believe it would be more effective and cause the crowd to scatter faster if the police were to drop job applications and paternity test kits in their midst of the crowd.

          • Sorry JR,
            I’m reminded 30+ years ago one of my instructors remarked that I was was too aggressive to be a beat cop and to old for special forces. I took another career path!

  2. Good job Sam Liccardo! Nothing like creating exigency and emergency! Now you can be the white knight and save san jose! This guy is a hack and a clown. Im still not done wiping with the pages of his manifesto.

  3. So, for 8 years they have convened a summit to TALK ABOUT gang prevention…with no success. Time to talk stop talking and DO SOMETHING. “In 2013, there were a reported 6,522 validated gang members in San Jose.” If you know who they are, then stop talking about them and deal with them.

    • Mr. JMO,

      The people you see talking at these worthless “community summits” are local politicians and their sock puppet chief of Police who is there with his shiny shoes and unwrinkled, lint free uniform and who hasn’t made a stop on a gang banger in more than a decade. These people do the talking while the beat cop is working his 12-17 hour forced overtime shift and sleeping in a camper shell in the police parking lot for the fourth or fifth day in a row.

      Most street level officers know the gang bangers by face or can spot them as easily as someone who knows dogs can spot a pit bull or a poodle. The problem is there is no time to make “proactive” stops and arrests when there aren’t even enough cops available to handle even some high priority calls for service. One or more officers can’t be out of service for an hour or more booking an arrestee when that leaves only one or two officers to handle calls for service in a district.

      Then again, whenever one gang banger kills one or more other gang bangers, at least someone is doing something to improve the officer to citizen ratio in San Jose, even if just by one chalk outline at a time.

  4. No matter where you go today there are gangs…the big issue is how you deal with them. By City Officials, Police Dept. and other Government agencies sending out a strong message to these sub-cultural groups…you will not deter them. They need to know that there are consequences for there actions, and harsh one’s. If you give them a smack on the hand and send them on there way…you can rest assure they will be back…but if you give them a stiff penalty and a strong warning, you might never see them again. We are no longer dealing with one or two…this has become an epidemic.

    • Having just received my annual greeting card from the assessor, I offer the collection of property taxes as an example of the power of consequences recommended by Mr. Cuilan. With nary a concern about my financial circumstances, psychological vulnerabilities, or level of personal discipline, the County of Santa Clara will unhesitatingly exercise its authority — and bury me (and my family) with consequences, should I fail to hand over payment for the right to own and maintain property here. Knowing this, I pay. And so do you.

      To what do we owe this remarkable level of compliance? Does anyone recall the assessor holding a “Tax Summit” so that experts — tax collectors, former tax scofflaws, and political blowhards, could hammer out a strategy? I don’t, because it never happened; the assessor already knew that consequences alone were enough to ensure compliance. Out of all the easily identified groups in this county: illegal aliens, public drunks, free-range lunatics, and the neighborhood terrorists we call street gangs, only property owners have been selected as deserving of zero tolerance enforcement.

      This unequal application of the law has, not surprisingly, aroused no protests, no class-action lawsuits, no impeachment demands, despite the fact that, by its refusal to apply the law against the lawbreaking groups listed above, the property for which its owners pay taxes is made vulnerable to declines in value, both monetary and livability.

      How to explain this outrage? Maybe we’ve been electing the wrong people.

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