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Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release
Attorney General, Coordinating Council Release First Report on Statewide Gang Reduction Strategy
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum and the Coordinating Council on Gang Reduction Strategies today released their 2007-2009 Report of Progress highlighting accomplishments of the state’s gang reduction efforts. One of the most important aspects of the report is the results of a 2009 statewide gang assessment performed by the Attorney General’s Office and law enforcement officials that identify approximately 1,100 gangs and nearly 49,000 gang members, associates and gang-related persons throughout the state. The survey results mark the first time Florida has had a set of reliable statistics on gangs and gang members and will give the state an accurate baseline with which to measure progress.
“These results are truly significant because for the first time, we know how many gangs are in each area of our state,” said Attorney General McCollum. “Florida’s gang problems are not isolated to certain locations – every single part of our state is affected, and it will take a statewide approach to see relief.”
In 2007, the Attorney General initiated a collaborative effort to develop a statewide Gang Reduction Strategy. The strategy, which was published in 2008, outlines a comprehensive plan for communities to develop specific solutions to reduce gang related crime throughout the state. The strategy also created the Coordinating Council as well as seven regional gang reduction task forces.
Since its creation, the Council has made significant accomplishments, including substantial legal enhancements for criminal prosecution of gang members and expanded gang training for law enforcement. The Council’s members have worked to enhance law enforcement cooperation, resulting in several multi-county law enforcement gang sweeps, including one operation in Tampa and two operations in Orlando, the most recent of which resulted in the arrest of 12 members of the Latin Kings gang. These arrests have also led to a decrease in gang-related crimes; after the arrest of several members of a violent Tampa gang in 2008, robberies in the area decreased by 50 percent.
The Council’s priority for the next two years will be a continued focus on developing and implementing programs for at-risk youth and incarcerated gang members. These efforts will include seeking increased support for community programs such as graffiti abatement projects, youth development programs, family involvement strategies, and gang mentoring programs. Ultimately, the Council believes prevention/intervention and rehab and re-entry will be the keys to stopping the growth of gangs, reducing the number of gang members, and rendering the remaining gangs ineffectual.
More information about the gang reduction strategy and a full list of Coordinating Council members is available online at http://www.floridagangreduction.com. The website also offers tips on how to recognize gang activity and prevent youth involvement. A copy of the Council's report is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-82YJ3P/$file/CoordinatingCouncilReport.pdf