On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion focused on addressing gun violence in those areas of the county “hit the hardest,” so that communities “can start healing through evidence-based strategies and solutions.”
“Unfortunately, our communities are now being hit with another layer of trauma,” Supervisor Hilda Solis wrote in her motion, “resulting from gun and gang-related violence and homicides that have increased between 20 to 48% in LA County according to several sources.”
The motion directs the Office of Violence Prevention to work with relevant county departments, as well as community organizations and survivors and residents, to report back to the board in 30 days with a “robust and comprehensive plan” for addressing “gang-related violence and trauma” in the LA communities with the most need for prevention and intervention.
According to the motion, the report should include:
– An analysis of data to identify communities with the highest rates of violence.
– Asset mapping to assess existing resources and gaps within the identified communities.
– Identification of a comprehensive array of prevention and intervention strategies to prevent violence and address the unique needs of most impacted communities.
– Recommendations for a protocol for regional coordination across jurisdictions, including cities and unincorporated communities, schools and law enforcement agencies, and government agencies.
– A draft implementation timeline identifying short-term and long-term activities, lead agencies and partners, and recommended policy and systems change efforts.
– A draft budget identifying public and private funding sources to support violence prevention and intervention work.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, speakers urged the board to continue their efforts to steer the county away from punishment-focused justice.
“I believe wholeheartedly it is not with the police force that we are going to solve the problem of gangs, gun violence,” said the Anti-Recidivism Coalition’s Oscar Bonilla, who spent 14 years in lockup. Rather, he said, “it is in collaboration with the community that we are going to be able to fix this situation.” Seeing police “fight fire with fire,” said Bonilla, can be “traumatic” for kids growing up in areas with higher rates of gun violence. “A community needs to heal from the inside,” he said.
LA County Probation Commissioner Sal Martinez also called into the virtual board meeting in support of Solis’s motion.
The county can’t address violence in the communities “just by funding law enforcement,” Martinez said, “We need more resources to invest in the community, and this motion emphasizes that point.”