City Council Aims to Stymie Gang Involvement

Key Step Is Identifying Prospective Gang Members

School and probation officials outlined possible ways to identify actual and potential gang members without violating their privacy at a special meeting of the Santa Barbara City Council meeting Monday morning. Once identified as such, prospective gang members can theoretically be funneled into prevention and intervention programs sometime before schools breaks this summer. The school district will attempt to target kids with poor attendance, poor grades, and notable behavior problems, and have some agency contact the parents of these kids. Police Chief Cam Sanchez cautioned, however, that some people charged with recent gang-related robberies did not fit such profiles. Attending the meeting were city police and parks department officials, as well as community activists – such as former councilmember Babatunde Folayemi and retired IBM executive Fernand Serat, who donated many thousands to candidates running in the most recent city council race – who hope to enlist City Hall in their efforts to engage a broad constellation of non-profits and social service agencies in a broader campaign of anti-youth violence. Police estimate that there are 101 actual gang members in Santa Barbara with another1,000 or so wanna-bes or affiliates.

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