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April 1, 2009 > Union City wins grant to combat gangs

Union City wins grant to combat gangs

By Simon Wong

Last week, Union City learned its application for a $314,000 matching grant to combat gang violence was successful. Measure UU revenue will provide a dollar-for-dollar match of the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention (CalGRIP) funds.

CalGRIP provides funding and coordination from state agencies for regional efforts to combat gang activity, rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders, and prevent at-risk children from joining gangs.

The grant will fund five staff positions - lead outreach worker, two outreach workers, case manager and employment coordinator - as well as operating supplies, office equipment and a staff vehicle.

Union City's Human Relations Commission also recommended a program manager and bilingual intervention counselor. Measure UU will potentially cover these positions and start-up costs associated with crime-data analysis from UC Berkeley and strategic planning.

The Commission and City are evaluating the services of local agencies such as Diez Counseling Services, which provides a bilingual family recovery program, and the House of Bridges, which provides residential care for boys.

The CalGRIP Program treats gang members like high-risk sex offenders. Anyone designated a high-risk gang offender must comply with special parole conditions, wear a GPS device, register with law enforcement, and be placed on a parolee database. Offenders will have to pay restitution to the communities they have harmed.

The program increases funding for witness protection and supports legislation to make witness intimidation a felony that carries a four-year term. CalGRIP targets high-intensity gang areas with programs to increase police presence and also funds CalGANGS, a centralized law enforcement database.

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