The City of Fullerton has been plagued with increasing gang membership and its resulting criminal activity. From 1996-2000, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed a total of sixty-three felony gang cases against Fullerton gang members. By comparison, in one year between July 2008 and July 2009, eighty-five felony gang cases were filed. From July 2010 through June 2011, there were 130 robberies within the City, of which 95 occurred within the target area. Similarly, with regards to assaults, the highest number of assault incidents occurs within this zone.
The Fullerton Tokers Town gang is the largest street gang in Orange County and is also considered one of the most criminally active. Fullerton gangs are involved in homicides, robberies, aggravated assaults, firearms possession, narcotic sales, possession and use, as well as felony vandalism, witness intimidation and a variety of nuisance-related activities.
The primary objective of this project is to intervene in the lives of families who have school-age children that are exhibiting high-risk behaviors related to gang lifestyle. Through a collaboration of City Departments, schools, and community-based organizations the problem of gang activity is addressed using a multi-faceted approach.
The overarching project goal is to reduce the ever-rising number of inter-generational gang members and to continue with the momentum of the gang violence suppression, intervention, and preventative approach that was launched in 2011. The FullGRIP program relies on a school-centered, community based approach to youth development and delinquency.
Several key strategies are being utilized and are identified on the list of evidence-based practices that have been found effective by four sources: Blueprints for Violence Prevention; the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy (“Top Tier”); work published by Mark Lipsey, Ph.D.; and the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. These sources were chosen because they reliably employ a rigorous scientific standard of evaluation.
Each family receives core comprehensive service components including case management, family advocacy, educational enrichment, after-school and summer recreational activities, and mentoring.
Case Management: This proven strategy incorporates intensive case management for the entire family unit. The case manager will provide each family on-going follow-up, support and crisis intervention. Program staff and partner agencies conduct regular, on-going meetings with families to discuss issues involving self-awareness, values, personal goal setting and risk factors.
Family Advocacy: Families will participate in specialized workshops on topics such as parenting skills, recognizing the signs of gang / drug involvement, job search skills, money management, health and safety. Program staff will monitor family progress and participation.
Educational Enrichment: Families will establish academic goals that incorporate educational enrichment and skill building. Program staff will work together with students, teachers and parents to develop academic goals, monitor progress and intervene as needed. Homework assistance, academic coaching, and tutoring are also made available for school-age students in the program.
After-school and Summer Recreational Activities: Program staff will coordinate with area after-school and summer enrichment programs. Planned after-school and summer activities will utilize a curriculum consisting of art & culture, music, science, technology, physical fitness, life skills development, self-esteem, and civic involvement. The cooperative, age appropriate activities will produce and promote positive mentoring relationships between children, program personnel and volunteers.
Mentoring: This proven strategy incorporates matching youth with positive adult role models. Program staff, including the case managers, after school program staff, and college students will insure that youth are building positive relationships through a variety of unique experiences provided by the program. Additionally, Police officers conduct a series of 10-week, small group mentoring workshops exclusively for FullGRIP youth. The workshops focus on youth development, self-esteem building, conflict resolution, realizing consequences and decision-making.
Community Policing - Police officers and non-sworn personnel collaborate with case managers to develop plans, accompany case managers during home visits to monitor the child and family’s progress, provide guidance, and provide crisis intervention as needed.