Gang Prevention Report Highlights Accomplishments and Next Steps


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

June 20, 2005

 

Gang Prevention Report Highlights
Accomplishments and Next Steps

The Fairfax County Coordinating Council on Gang Prevention and the Fairfax County Gang Prevention Steering Committee presented “Report to the Community: Actions and Recommendations” to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during its meeting today. Building upon the ideas generated at the Fairfax County Gang Prevention Summit in February, the report outlines the actions that have been accomplished and recommendations for the next steps.

“Four months ago Fairfax County took serious action to combat the threat from gangs in our community by bringing residents, community and business leaders together at the Gang Prevention Summit,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly. “Today, this report shows the major accomplishments we already have achieved and the next steps, many currently underway, that will move us closer to our goal of eliminating gangs and gang activity in Fairfax County. It is vital that we stay ahead of the curve on this problem for the sake of the community.”

The accomplishments have been driven by the insights gained from the Gang Prevention Summit, the efforts of the Gang Prevention Steering Committee chaired by County Executive Anthony H. Griffin and the contributions of the Fairfax County Coordinating Council on Gang Prevention. Among the accomplishments presented in the report are:

  • The considerable expansion of the availability and quality of after-school opportunities because of the significant investment in after-school programs by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairfax County School Board and the School-Community Coalitions. Twenty-four of the county’s 25 middle schools offer at least three days of activities weekly, and overall usage of the programs is an average 226 students per school.
  • Multi-agency teams have begun to pilot wraparound services for youths involved in gang activity and their families. These teams are building on the concept of a Child Specific Team, which has been used successfully by human services and brings together parents and their children, community members and professionals in an effort to help the family.
  • In response to information from the Gang Prevention Summit and direct presentations to the Board of Supervisors by youths representing Neighborhood Pride, six youths have been hired by the Department of Community and Recreation Services as limited-term employees for the summer. They will focus on community outreach and program evaluation at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church and the Area II Human Services office. In addition, they will work with staff to develop new outreach strategies to increase the number of at-risk youths in summer programs.

“We have been able to make significant strides,” said Bob Bermingham, Fairfax County gang prevention coordinator. “By drawing on the extensive network of Fairfax County services and reaching out to the community and businesses, we have built a solid base for a comprehensive effort to attack the gang issue on all fronts–which is what it will take.”

A key element in the county’s gang prevention strategy is the Comprehensive Gang Model developed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and presented at the Gang Prevention Summit. The model calls for five core strategies: community mobilization, social intervention, opportunities provision, suppression, and organizational change and development.

“Implementing the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model is not a simple process,” Bermingham pointed out, “and cannot be accomplished in a short period of time. Many large challenges and tasks lie ahead for the Coordinating Council on Gang Prevention, members of the community, county agencies, the school system, the business community, nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations that choose to participate in gang prevention activities.”

To view the full report, and for more information on the Fairfax County Coordinating Council on Gang Prevention and the Gang Prevention Summit, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gangprevention or call Bermingham at 703-246-2396, TTY 711.

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