Gang Prevention Status Report Presented to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
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Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
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Sept. 24, 2007

Gang Prevention Status Report Presented to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

A review of gang prevention efforts in Fairfax County was presented to the Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting today by Gang Prevention Coordinator Robert Bermingham.

The report compared crime figures from 2005 and 2006 and found that in 2006, gang-related crimes had decreased 32 percent from 2005 and at a greater rate than the decrease in overall crime. So far this year, gang-related crime statistics indicate a further downward trend. In addition, the report said that there has been no evident increase in the number of gang members residing in Fairfax County.

“This shows that the Fairfax County approach to gang prevention is really making a difference,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly. “The key is that we don’t just focus on suppression, but also invest in prevention and intervention efforts to reach our youth before they are drawn into the gang lifestyle. Also, by developing public-private partnerships we can maximize the county’s investment into a significant payoff for the community overall.”

“When gang prevention was made a priority in Fairfax County, one of the main goals was to establish a comprehensive, collaborative effort within county services and with community stakeholders,” said Bermingham. He pointed to five initiatives that either had been established or expanded during the past year:

  • Middle school after-school program expansion into all 27 middle schools, which is supported by the county, schools and more than 100 outside organizations and groups.

  • Road DAWG camp program collaboration between Fairfax County Police Department and eight other Fairfax County agencies reached more than 100 at-risk youth and parents/guardians. It has been enhanced to include follow-up during the school year.

  • Intervention, prevention and education (IPE) program, a collaboration of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, Fairfax County and the Center for Multicultural Human Services, provides intervention services to gang-involved youth, prevention services to siblings, and educates parents/guardians regarding gangs and available resources.

  • Gang and Youth Violence Resource and Referral Phone Line 1-866-914-GANG (4264) was launched this month and is coordinated by the Fairfax County Department of Systems Management for Human Services and the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. It is a 24/7 resource and referral phone line where youth, parents/guardians, law enforcement, community organizations and service providers can obtain information regarding gang prevention and intervention services.

  • Smart Kids/Safe Choices violence/gang prevention program focused on 9-13 year olds and served 524 youth through a partnership of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board and community and faith-based organizations.

The county’s gang prevention effort, “Every Child Is Worth Saving: A Community Partnership,” is based on a three-pronged approach — suppression, intervention and prevention. This is from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Comprehensive Gang Model, which was adopted at the Fairfax County Gang Prevention Summit, Feb. 25, 2005.

The gang prevention presentation was made on behalf of the Fairfax County Coordinating Council for Gang Prevention and the Fairfax County Gang Prevention Steering Committee. The full Fairfax County Gang Prevention Status Report is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gangprevention.

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