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.