FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2016
Contact: Emilio Lacques
A DIVERSE COALITION OF CIVIC LEADERS CALL ON LA CITY TO RE-IMAGINE PUBLIC SAFETY AND INVEST IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
Los Angeles City Hall Steps
200 N. Spring Street Spring (between 1st and Temple)
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
10:00am – 11:00am
(Los Angeles, CA) On Tuesday, September 13, a diverse coalition of civic leaders called on the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor to re-imagine public safety for our young people by investing in and creating a Youth Development Department. By re-directing just 5% of L.A.P.D’s annual budget, this department could fund at least 30 youth centers, 350 peace builders (intervention workers) in schools and communities, and an additional 15,000 (city-funded) youth jobs.
Gloria Gonzalez, a 21 year-old youth organizer and L.A. City College student said, “I do this for my family. I am working to make sure we get these resources so that my younger brother and my baby daughter can have real opportunities and grow up in a city that treats him with respect. L.A. spends 70 times more on law enforcement than youth development – this needs to change now.”
In 2012, the Youth Justice Coalition in collaboration with various community organizations launched the ‘LA for Youth’ campaign to re-imagine public safety. They surveyed over 1,200 youth across L.A. asking them about what public safety means to them-and the overwhelming majority wanted jobs, centers, and community intervention.
Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, Alex Johnson, said, “The City of Los Angeles budgets far more to its police department to contain and surveil its neighborhoods than to educate and develop its youth. That must end. The LA for Youth Campaign envisions a Los Angeles that invests in young people, and responds with tangible resources that develop, heal and transform communities.”
Since 2012, LA For Youth has developed an extensive report, which addresses youth criminalization in Los Angeles and outlines what youth development is and why it is a critical component of public safety.
Daniel Healy, Associate Director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles stated, “Our current LA City budget heavily prioritizes a suppression-oriented public safety strategy. LAPD currently costs the City of Los Angeles $2.57 billion annually – more than all other City departments combined – and the LAPD budget has increased 40% over the last 10 years. Redirecting a small percentage of those funds to create a youth development department that funds prevention-oriented public safety strategies such as youth jobs, youth centers and community peace builders will not only improve public safety but also the lives of many youth and their families throughout Los Angeles.”
The report highlights how other major American cities have invested in youth development and the strategies they utilize: San Francisco invests 19 times more in development per youth than Los Angeles annually, New York City invests seven times more, and Boston four times more.
Finally, the report includes youth and community-driven recommendations for youth investment in Los Angeles, while also outlining changes that should occur at the County level. A digital copy of the report, Building a Positive Future for LA’s Youth, along with more information and resources are available at www.laforyouth.org.