Community Leader Wants Gang Violence to Be Seen as Public Health Issue, not Crime

"That really does mean re-framing to say what causes violence, instead of how do we respond to violence," says the director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater L.A.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Community leaders discussed the root causes of gang violence today during the start of a two-day conference in Los Angeles, with a nonprofit director saying the key to preventing violence is by treating it as a public health issue.

The Los Angeles Gang Violence Prevent & Intervention Conference runs through Tuesday at the California Endowment on Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Too often, gang violence is treated as an issue of criminal justice, according to Kaile Shilling, director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles.

"Violence is better seen and addressed as an issue of public health rather than an issue of criminal justice," Shilling said. "And that really does mean re-framing to say what causes violence, instead of how do we respond to violence."

Shilling pointed to the root causes that lead youth into gang activity including parenting practices, childhood trauma and the policies around mass incarceration and school discipline. Other causes include sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health issues.

"That all contributes toward a default setting that pushes our young people into prison systems, into gangs and into violence," Shilling said.

A big step would be to stop demonizing young people and address the domestic violence that often leads youth into gang activity, she said.

Los Angeles is experiencing a 50-year low in homicides and gang-related homicides, according to Paul Carrillo, a co-chair of the conference. Still, he said there are pockets of violence.

"There are still very lethal and deadly, unsafe neighborhoods," Carrillo said.

He said the key to stamping out gang violence is to work with everyone in the community, from law enforcement to parents, churches and schools.

The conference, hosted in partnership with Hospitals Against Violence Empowering Neighborhoods, is meant to allow community leaders to come together to share knowledge, build relationships and work collaboratively to end gang violence.

--City News Service

Brian Aherne May 12, 2014 at 11:00 PM
What a load of crap!
Diane Davidson May 13, 2014 at 10:04 AM
If they haven't figured it out by now...
Rick Feibusch May 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM
What a bunch of BS! Gangs are social clubs that train criminality.... as soon as I read non-profit, I know that someone is making many $$$$$ by selling this nonsense to government agencies and people who are guilty about financial good fortune.... Better schools and more reasonable drug laws, as well as incarceration reform is what we need, as well as the time it takes to realize the change in direction. As far as I see this, it is a way to stall REAL solutions, while collecting a paycheck for a few people at the expense of the community - Like the last two decades of "homeless" services in Venice....
PcCrap May 13, 2014 at 11:39 AM
Non profits are scams with weirdos at the top making 6 figures. What happened to being a proud American and doing the right thing and taking responsibility for one's own actions. Americans belong with Americans NOT foreign invaders who want to make a buck of what WE built, and then shit out more kids and take from us. They create their own prejudice and Americans are sick of it.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »