Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NJRCPOA: Gang Awareness and Community Response

Detective Moises J. Canal, a 13 year veteran of the Hackensack Police Department's Youth Division was the featured speaker for a February 19, 2008 event discussing the gang problem in today's society with a focus on Dominican Street Gangs, particularly the DDPs (Dominican's Don't Play) and the Trinitarios.

The event was made possible through the leadership of Lt. Patrick Fay, President of the North Jersey Regional Crime Prevention Officers Association, and Sheriff Leo P. McGuire of the Bergen County Sheriff's Department. There were over 70 attendees at the state of the art auditorium of the Bergen County Jail representing:

  • Bergen County Prosecutor's Office
  • Bergen County Sheriff’s Department
  • Carlstadt Police Department
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Guttenberg Police Department
  • Hackensack Police Department
  • Jersey City Police Department
  • New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness
  • Newark Police Department
  • Orange Police Department
  • Premier Security Services, Inc.
  • Teaneck Police Department

Detective Canal's presentation covered

  • Gang Identification
    beads, baggy clothing, bandanas, tattoos and the colors of the Dominican flag
  • Gang Locations
    parks, school yards, abandoned buildings, street corners and members' homes
  • Crimes
    assault, murder, drug trafficking, weapons possession and robbery
  • Weapons
    knives, guns, baseball bats, razors and machete, their preferred weapon

The allurement of the gang culture, which leads to disillusionment, disconnectedness and often death, can be a powerful one for today's youth. The best antidote is the cultivation of a strong support system through family, school and community partnerships.

One organization that is dedicated to keeping America safe is FIGHT CRIME: Invest in Kids, which is led by more than 3,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, law enforcement leaders, and violence survivors dedicated to preventing crime and violence. Understanding that this effort must involve all levels of government, education, community and family, FIGHT CRIME states that

America must cut the pipeline that funnels young people into lives of crime and violence. We take a hard-nosed look at research on what keeps kids from becoming criminals and put that information in the hands of policy-makers and the public.

[Reprinted from FIGHT CRIME: Invest in Kids website –]

From America’s Front Line Against Crime:
A School and Youth Violence Prevention Plan

As an organization of more than 3,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement leaders, and violence survivors, we are determined to see that dangerous criminals are put behind bars. But anyone who thinks that jailing a criminal undoes the agony of crime has not seen crime up close.

America’s anti-crime arsenal contains no weapons more powerful than the proven programs that help kids get the right start in life—programs like Head Start, pre-kindergarten and educational child care, child abuse and neglect prevention, youth development activities for the after-school and summer hours, and intervention programs proven to help troubled kids. Yet today, inadequate funding for these critical investments leaves millions of children at needless risk of becoming violent or delinquent teens and adult criminals—and leaves every American at risk of becoming a crime victim.

We call on all federal, state and local officials to implement a four-part plan to dramatically reduce crime and violence, and help young people learn the skills and values they need to become good neighbors and responsible adults. No plan can prevent every violent act. But this common-sense plan-based on our experience and the latest research about what really works to fight crime — can make all of us safer.

Four Steps to Dramatically Reduce School and Youth Violence

  1. Provide all families access to quality pre-kindergarten and educational child care programs proven to reduce crime.
    Law enforcement leaders have long known that intervening early in children's lives is the best way to prevent violence and crime. Rigorous social science and neuroscience studies now provide evidence that supports what many have known from experience: in the first few years of life, children’s intellect and emotions, and even their ability to feel concern for others (a prerequisite to conscience) are being permanently shaped. When parents are at work trying to make ends meet, high quality programs for children, age birth to 5, can not only prepare them to succeed in school but also reduce later crime.
  2. Help at-risk parents improve their parenting and prevent child abuse and neglect by offering in-home parenting coaching. Make sure child protective services have policies and resources sufficient to protect and heal abused and neglected children.
    Almost one million children are abused or neglected in this country each year. Studies show that being abused or neglected multiplies the risk that a child will grow up to be violent. It is imperative to expand parenting-coaching and family support programs that prevent children from being abused and neglected, reduce subsequent delinquency, and improve other outcomes for children.
  3. Provide all school-age children and teens access to after-school youth development programs to shut down the "Prime Time for Juvenile Crime."
    In the hour after the school bell rings, millions of children and teens hit the streets with neither constructive activities nor adult supervision, violent juvenile crime soars and the prime time for juvenile crime begins. On school days, the peak hours for juvenile crime are from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. These are also the hours when kids are most likely to become victims of crime. Being unsupervised after school doubles the risk that 8th-graders will smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs.
  4. Identify troubled children and teens as early as possible, intervene and provide them and their parents with the training necessary to help them avoid crime.
    Children who are overly aggressive and at risk for problems later in life can be screened and identified at an early age and helped with mental health or other services.

The Bottom Line: Investing in Kids Saves Lives and Money

When our country fails to invest in children, all Americans pay far more later—not just in lost lives, but also in tax dollars. The federal treasury will actually have more money to dedicate to other uses in the future—whether for Social Security or tax cuts—by investing today in programs to help kids get the right start in life. Research clearly demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of these programs.

[Click here to read the full text of the plan.]

READ MORE School & Youth Violence Prevention Plan (pdf) Click here to visit site homepage Click here to visit site
USDOJ—COPS: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Click here to visit site
USDOJ—COPS: Gangs Click here to visit site
Community Policing Blogs Click here to visit site
Gang Blogs Click here to visit site
Gangs, Guns and Drugs: Community Awareness and Response Click here to visit site
America's Response to the Gang Culture Click here to visit site

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