LOS ANGELES CITY CONTROLLER'S BLOG
Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010
Reclaiming Our Streets
This morning I released a follow-up audit of the City’s Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy. I strongly believe that this audit is among the most important I will conduct, because the safety of our children and communities is our City’s most important responsibility.
Unfortunately, our city has become known as the gang capital of the United State, and according to the LAPD, the City currently has over 400 gangs and nearly 41,000 gang members.
In 2008, the Controller’s office completed a report that revealed the City was wasting millions of dollars a year on disparate programs that were highly disorganized and lacked accountability — clearly something needed to be done.
The Blueprint for a Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy was created to show a path forward for how the City could reclaim our streets and our children through a strategy of prevention, intervention, and suppression. At the time, I was still serving on the City Council, and I introduced a proposal to consolidate all Anti-Gang programs into a coordinated office, which was created in 2008.
The audit I released today is the second follow-up, and the results give me mixed feelings: I am happy to see the progress the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) has made, but am disappointed that there is no way to measure the success of this progress, which is vital if we are to continue putting our efforts to fighting against gang violence.
My audit found that 52% of the original 109 recommendations have been implemented or are no longer relevant, and 47% are either partially implemented of still in progress. In fact, only one recommendation has not been implemented. Efforts such as the Summer Night Lights Program are clearly successful and heartening to hear about — but that is not enough.
While the recommendations have been implemented for laying a strong foundation for a comprehensive anti-gang strategy, the office and their contractor the Urban Institute have not provided any evaluation of GRYD’s overall efforts. Nearly a year and a half and $525,000 in taxpayer funds have been wasted, and little progress has been made to provide measureable outcomes.
GRYD needs to provide more oversight because our City needs to know without a doubt that these programs are working and that we truly are making progress. Starting today, we must redouble our efforts to rid our City of the plague of gang violence.
Posted at 8:40 AM