November 21, 2006

Crapo supports Idaho efforts to prevent gang violence

Urges full funding for program directed at reducing gang involvement

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo applauded the announcement today of a joint effort to focus on gang-related crime in Idaho. Several Treasure Valley cities and counties are working with the state to fund a position in the U.S. Attorney's office to focus solely on gang-related incidents. "Today's announcement highlights the need in our communities to find ways to reduce the amount of gang violence in Idaho," Crapo said. "Several Idaho communities have experienced a tremendous growth of gang-related activity, and we must use every tool at our disposal to make sure our neighborhoods and families are safe. On a national level, programs are underway that are aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency and preventing gang involvement. Crapo has joined several of his colleagues in seeking full funding for a project that will connect Spanish-speaking families with these beneficial programs including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the YMCA, work-study programs, and other youth services, along with valuable information that will help parents reduce gang influence on their children and provide alternatives for gang participation. The Self-Reliance Foundation's (SRF) National Hispanic Juvenile Delinquency Program focuses on media programs that are broadcast in Idaho on the following seven Hispanic Communications Network-Hispanic Radio Network radio station affiliates: KWEI-FM, KWEI-AM and KJHY-FM in Boise; KFTA-AM in Twin Falls; and KRCW-FM, KRSC-AM and KWLN-FM in Spokane, Washington. "Gang violence is a growing trend that faces Idaho communities, as well as many throughout our nation," Crapo said. "While this project helps a critical population of at-risk teens within the Hispanic community, gang violence reaches beyond one community or group. We must be willing to work with law enforcement as well as determine steps to strengthen families so that we can prevent gang involvement before youth become part of it. According to available statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice and Idaho State Police: ? Public safety and quality of life in all sizes of communities - urban, suburban and rural - are affected by violent street gangs. ? Idaho State Police have recognized emerging gang activity in several Idaho counties. According to police reports, gangs are involved in shootings, graffiti, gun thefts and the use and sale of methamphetamine and other drugs. ? Cliques of the MS-13 gang have been identified in Idaho, as well as in Washington, Oregon, California, and several other states. MS-13 and violent gangs are quickly spreading, and are directly responsible for murders and criminal acts in many states.