September 2, 2011
Some good news in light of the recent rash of shootings in the Salinas Valley: the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a grant to the Monterey County Health Department for youth violence prevention programs.
The five-year, $4.5 million grant, which will be shared with health departments in Boston, Mass., Houston, Texas, and Portland, Ore., is part of the CDC's Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere initiative, an attempt to address the staggering amount of youth homicides - 16 each day, according to CDC stats - and increased concerns about in-school bullying that leads to violence in communities.
Salinas, which has long been plagued by gang violence and which experienced three shootings in a 14-hour period earlier this week, will be the primary focus of the grant funding and technical assistance. The city's Community Alliance for Safety and Peace will develop pilot programs to tackle problems linked to youth violence, like poor parenting and student truancy. If successful, those programs would be shared with other cities and jurisdictions in Monterey County.