With 3,000 certified or affiliated gang members in Salinas, improving safety by reducing gang violence is a top priority for the city. In January of 2009, Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP) emerged from two like-minded organizations: the City of Salinas’ Community Safety Alliance and the Violence Prevention Subcommittee of the Monterey County Children’s Council.
A multidisciplinary team of leaders from 30-plus organizations formed what is currently known as the General Assembly, a professional learning community, that meets twice monthly to assess, plan, and implement effective strategies to sustain a peaceful community. An early CASP activity included uniting in a campaign called For Our Future / Para Nuestro Futuro which includes an informational website, public health campaigns, and coordination of community events. The group also helped establish the first ever Community Safety Division within the Administration Department of the City of Salinas and a Youth Council.
With deep community engagement as a pillar of CASP’s strategy, a Comprehensive Strategy for Community-wide Violence Reduction for Salinas was created through “Progress Toward Peace” community forums with 120 listening sessions (including middle and high school students) and with technical assistance from the City of San Jose. The first step was to implement a pilot action plan in the Hebbron Heights neighborhood. The action plan holds several components that build relationships and leadership capacity in the community, provide the targeted services to individuals and their families, and increase a sense of safety.
These components include:
Since 2010, Salinas has seen a drop in all recorded crime statistics.