Mayor’s Gang Prevention Initiative Team Hosts Department Of Justice Webcast For Community

(FRESNO , CA June 5, 2006) – In an on-going effort to combat gang activity in the City of Fresno, as part of Mayor Alan Autry’s Gang Prevention Initiative, the community is invited to attend a webcast sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice: Preventing Gang Activity in Our Communities, will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2006 at 11:00 am at the Fresno Convention Center’s Valdez Hall.

The program features an opening message from Attorney General, Alberto R. Gonzales followed by a panel discussion between national experts on preventing gang activity that includes: Dr. Scott Decker, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Arizona State University; Errika Fearbry Jones, Director of the Gang Free Schools (GFS) program for the Pittsburgh Board of Education; Victor Gonzales, Director of Program Services for the Gang Violence Reduction Team, a gang intervention program of the Houston Mayor's Anti-Gang Office; and Joe Mollner, Senior Director of Delinquency Prevention, overseeing Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Gang Prevention, Gang Intervention, Delinquency Prevention, and Re-Entry Initiatives.

Attendees will learn how to prevent the growth of gangs, which have become an increasingly deadly threat to the safety and security of our nation’s communities.

Mayor Alan Autry commented, “Although indispensably important, we must face the stark reality that suppression alone cannot end gang activity. Although it is essential to have an adequate number of police on the street, a cop on every corner is not economically feasible nor would it be effective in ending gang involvement. In order to effectively end this American tragedy called ‘gangs’, we must be willing to make significant investments in prevention and intervention.

Following the DOJ webcast, a local panel discussion will be held that includes members from Valley law enforcement, elected officials and representatives from community organizations to discuss what is currently being done to combat gangs and protect youth from joining gangs.

The major components of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Initiative focus on:

Prevention, Intervention, Suppression, Rehabilitation and Job Development. This initiative is a proven crime fighting model used by the City of San Jose to assist gang prevention and violence by focusing community efforts and resources that give youth an alternative to gang lifestyle.

A press conference will be held immediately following the local panel discussion at 2:00pm.

For more information on the Department of Justice webcast, contact City of Fresno Public Information Officer, Rhonda Jorn at (559) 621-7777.

Andrew T. Souza , City Manager
Contact: Rhonda Jorn, Public Affairs Officer: (559) 621-7777

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