DUARTE – Government and public safety officials said at a meeting this morning that they were committed to addressing the causes of gang violence, but they offered few specifics.
The meeting at the city’s Community Center brought together elected and police representatives from Duarte, Monrovia and the neighboring unincorporated area, as well as county agencies and nonprofit groups.
Officials echoed one another in saying that the communities were prepared to collaborate on new prevention and intervention efforts. They promised to address not just the recent spike in violence – which has been attributed to rival black and Latino gangs – but the underlying reasons for the problem.
“We don’t need simply a menu of programs. … We need first and foremost collaboration and coordination,” said Tony Massengale to applause.
Massengale, a racialized gang violence prevention coordinator with the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, called for a minimum 10-year commitment to eradicating gangs from the region.
Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond said the region has an opportunity to make a break in the cycle of gang activity that has plagued the region for the past 30-plus years.
“A community that was scared is now mobilized,” Hammond said. “Gangs are nothing new. … What is new is the sustained push.”
Officials were not clear on how exactly they would proceed with a long-term, regional anti-gang project. They said more meetings would take place and plans would be announced in coming weeks.
This just in from Star-News reporter Melissa Pamer. Looks like despite a few weeks of quiet in Monrovia, the gang problem has not been forgotten: