The problem of gang and youth violence rose to national prominence in the 1980’s and found its way to Redding in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. According to the Redding Police Department, Redding had 20 violent youth gang-related felonies in 1994. This spurred a county-wide effort to rid our communities of youth gangs. Lead by aggressive law enforcement, cooperation from the schools and community-based organizations and agencies, Redding and Shasta County were able to gain the upper hand.
In response to the youth gang issues in our county, the Youth Violence Prevention Council was created in 1996 and became an integral part of the effort to rid our communities of youth gangs. The thrust of the Youth Violence Prevention Council involves the coordination of primary education on youth issues and youth advocacy, all aimed at keeping our county youth gang free and safe for all citizens, young and older alike.
A National Gang Youth Survey identified that only 49% of areas with a gang problem had activated a “formal multi-agency collaborative effort”. Redding and Shasta County are indeed fortunate that top community leaders recognized the problem early, organized, and have maintained the Youth Violence Prevention Council over the past many years.
With increased youth gang-related problems in counties to our immediate south, it is important that the citizens of Shasta County stay vigilant in our efforts to keep youth gangs out of Shasta County. The fact that our county has had very few gang related felonies in the past 10+ years is due in large part to a coordinated partnership between law enforcement, schools, agencies, and organizations such as the Youth Violence Prevention Council.