Danville leaders taking fight against gang violence to next level

‘Now’s the time to even press harder’

DANVILLE, Va. – On Monday, Danville City leaders joined together in their fight against gang violence.

City leaders attended a training session, led by representatives from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to teach them about the comprehensive gang intervention model program that the city adopted in 2017.

The goal was to educate those leaders and recruit more of them to take an active role in the model.

They discussed forming an “intervention team” made up of key agencies to coordinate individual case plans, safety considerations and allocate resources effectively. They also talked about how to build and strengthen criminal justice and community outreach collaborations to effectively intervene with gang-involved youth and suppress gang activity.

They want to bring in other city departments, besides law enforcement officials — like social services, school and community and faith leaders — to focus on intervention and help kids get jobs to stay out of trouble.

Robert David, the city’s youth and gang violence prevention coordinator, said they’ve seen success and a decrease in gang crime, but this is just the beginning.

“The city really does care," David said. “We’re not done doing what we’re doing because it’s somewhat quiet now, we’ve had some successes. Now’s the time to even press harder."

After Danville adopted that gang intervention model, city leaders created a program called Project Imagine, which is unique to Danville, in order to prevent gang violence.

Project Imagine is a nine-week program that offers life coaching and allows at-risk teens to work for a city department and earn money so they can learn there are other paths in life besides joining a gang.

About the Author: