Group releases study on local gang problem

The committee's research suggests more community awareness is needed.

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WALLA WALLA -- The battle to curb the local gang problem should be fought on a variety of fronts.

That's according to the 2010-11 Community Council study committee's report, "Reducing Gang Membership through Prevention."

The 28-page report unveiled Wednesday is the culmination of 27 weeks of meetings involving 56 speakers and participation by 115 people.

The study committee learned "that the reasons for gang membership are complex and concluded that preventing gang membership requires a multifaceted approach," according to the study's executive summary.

The committee's research suggests that more community awareness is needed and existing resources should coordinate more closely.

In addition, early intervention by positive, mature role models can reduce a young person's will to join a gang.

The report recommends a bicultural, civic committee be formed to focus on gang prevention. The group's goals would include public education and participation.

Also, a partnership of community members, organizations and -- where appropriate -- local government should collaborate to assist in gang-prevention in high-risk neighborhoods and encourage independence and resilience in those children.

More information about the council is available at www.wwcommunitycouncil.org.

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