Summit on gangs to connect communities across Washington

Story Body

Gang activity is a problem in many cities, with gangs trafficking drugs and people through networks that crisscross the state.

That’s why better communication between communities is crucial to fighting the problem — and the Joint Summit on Gang Prevention and Intervention in Tacoma on Wednesday, Nov. 1, aims to strengthen those efforts.

The summit will host state and national experts on gang activity, including Eileen Garry, acting administrator of the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to share best practices and increase collaboration statewide. The event is intended for state, local and tribal community leaders, law enforcement, prosecutors, educators, providers of services for youth involved in gang activity and policymakers.

Gov. Jay Inslee had a similar discussion with local leaders earlier this month in Yakima, which is estimated to have the highest per capita rate of gang homicides in the state.

“The level of gang violence in Yakima and other parts of the state is unacceptable,” Inslee said. “While there is an obvious need for assistance for law enforcement, we know we also need preventive services. We need to out-recruit the gangs and connect our youth to something positive rather than a life that is dangerous to them and the community.”

Intervention and prevention models have had some success in cities around the state, including Spokane.

The city has about 200 known gangs, said Pastor Shon Davis, a member of the Kingdom Fellowship Church Alliance. The organization is composed of roughly 20 churches in the Spokane area and partners with schools to provide mediation, family outreach, mentorship and other services to gang-affected youth.

Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office