The people of Salinas, California are determined to reduce the violence on their streets. City officials, the Salinas Police Department, and members of the community engage in several collaborative programs to focus on creating a safer Salinas.

Bringing the Community Together

The Salinas PD teamed up with community leaders to form The Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP). According to the CASP website, it is “determined to reduce violence and build a better future for our children.”

Faced with an epidemic of gang violence in Salinas, CASP developed the For Our Future/Para Nuestro Futuro campaign based on four key principles.

  • A single operational structure to manage progress
  • Data-driven action
  • Focus on youth
  • Meaningful community engagement

CASP organizes community events and provides resources for finding afterschool programs, jobs, parenting tips, and information about violence other strategies for continued community engagement.

Reaching Out to a National Network

Looking for help in its struggle with violence, the Salinas community began participating in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (NFYVP).

In a joint effort with the Office on National Drug Control and several other federal departments, the NFYVP formed a network of communities to share information and increase local capacity to reduce violence among the youth. Boston, Camden, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Jose are all members of the forum along with Salinas.

The NFYVP proposes using data and evidence to strategically deploy resources to maximize their effectiveness and using multidisciplinary community partnerships to deliver a consistent message against violence.

Learning From Other Cities

Salinas also joined the National Network for Safe Communities. The NNSC alliance of cities uses proven strategies to reduce violence and improve community relations. Salinas joined the alliance and implemented the proven Group Violence Reduction Strategy, sometimes referred to as “Operation Ceasefire.”

The Group Violence Reduction Strategy has three elements.

  • Create and deliver a credible and moral anti-violence message.
  • Create and deliver a credible message from law enforcement about the consequences for continued violence.
  • Offer sincere help to all those who want it.

This strategy successfully reduced violence in Boston, Los Angeles, and several other smaller cities.

Creating a Plan for Salinas

With the information learned from local and national partnerships, Salinas adopted the Salinas Comprehensive Strategy for Community-wide Violence Reduction.

According to the strategy documentation, it focuses on goals in six areas.

  • Social and Economic Conditions
  • Engaging and Supervising Youth
  • Healthy and Safe Communities
  • Law Enforcement
  • Education and Schools
  • Drugs and Alcohol

The comprehensive strategy outlines several actionable goals in each area and explains how each goal will be measured. For example, one goal in the Healthy and Safe Communities category is to, “Decrease children’s exposure to violence. Exposure to violence, measured by the number of domestic violence related calls for assistance, will decrease by approximately 3 percent from 729 calls in 2010 to 707 calls in 2015.”

The plan includes calling on members of CASP to conduct evaluations of progress made towards the goals. They will also rely on their other partnerships to help supply and analyze any data that may help to reduce youth violence.

Salinas has a clear plan to change the culture in its community. It has measurable goals to keep the plan on track. Through local and national partnerships, Salinas is reducing violence and replacing it with a message of health and safety among the community’s youth.

Written by Aaron Gunderson

Aaron is a gadget geek, community volunteer, and father of two. He frequently writes about smart home technology and surveillance systems. Learn more

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