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Report on L.A.'s Gang Program Mostly Positive, but Says Critical Component Still Missing

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A former gang member from East L.A. who was in the process of getting his tattoos removed | Photo by NiccollsDP via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr


A former gang member from East L.A. who was in the process of getting his tattoos removed | Photo by NiccollsDP via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
L.A. City Controller Wendy Gruel this afternoon teased the pending release of her audit on the city's gang reduction effort, saying that much progress has been made in the past two years, but over a half million dollars of taxpayer money dedicated to evaluating the program has not produced any results. Without that data, it's impossible to measure the success of the program, her office said.

Run within Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office, the Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) aims to change the conditions that "have fueled nearly 400 gangs and 41,000 active gang members" by providing services and safe places for at-risk youth and targeting over 10 zones known to have high levels of gang crime.

The office is supposed to take its cue from a 2008 report called the Blueprint for a Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy. Since then, Greuel said her audit found that 52% of the 109 recommendations have been either implemented or are no longer relevant. 47% of recommendations are partially implemented or are still in progress. One of the recommendations remains untouched.

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But Greuel did find one disturbing key fact. No matter how much has been implemented, there's no telling if the program is a success or not without evaluation of overall efforts. For nearly a year, the GRYD and the contractor Urban Institute have spent $525,000 trying to evaluate the effectiveness and still have yet to provide any measurable outcomes. Greuel will go into detail about her audit tomorrow morning in South L.A.