In response to rising crime rates and gun violence, Long Beach City Council directed staff to provide an update on methods for violence prevention on Tuesday.
According to a Long Beach Post report, there were 381 shootings in Long Beach in 2020 alone, a deadly increase from the previous 232 yearly average seen over the past of four years.
Vice Mayor Rex Richardson held a presentation for the council detailing a progress update on violence prevention efforts in the city, an effort that has been in place since 2014.
Richardson praised the Youth and Young Adults Strategic Plan during his presentation and brought up the use of Measure J funds for future investments into the Long Beach community.
“There’s been a lot of progress over the last year on violence prevention,” he said. “Some of it was strong last week in the Youth Development Office work, but there’s a lot more that’s taking place.”
On Nov. 3 of last year, Measure J was passed by Los Angeles County voters. The measure will allocate at least 10% of the county’s general fund to youth development programs, community health, affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and other community programs.
The measure will go through a recommendation process for the upcoming 2021-2022 county budget. There will be opportunities for community engagement between February 2021 and March 2021 for community members to voice their ideas and how they believe the funding should be prioritized.
The council has taken strides towards this community effort by establishing solutions such as the Racial Equity Reconciliation Initiative, the Long Beach Activating Safe Communities Program (LBASC) grant award and most recently, the Office of Youth Development.
In addition, the city’s Health and Human Services Department has staffed four new positions in its LBASC program that will serve to incorporate street outreach and crime intervention within the city. The positions are funded by the $1.1 million Long Beach Activating Safe Communities grant passed in 2020.
Although Measure J funds remain to be seen, Richardson advocates for beginning negotiations with partners and investors.
“I believe that we should continue to invest in violence prevention,” Richardson said. “We have to continue to invest in youth, we need to make sure that we are being creative and leveraging these resources that we’ve put forward over the last year.”
The next Long Beach City Council meeting will occur next Tuesday, March 2 at 5 p.m. via teleconference.