October 1, 2010
Statement from Mayor Adams on Ongoing, New Efforts to Reduce Gang and Gun Violence
“Since the tragic gang-related shooting death of Andre Payton last Sunday, Police Chief Mike Reese and I have redoubled our efforts to confront illegal gun and gang violence in our city. Gang violence is solvable. But to solve it, we will need to take both immediate steps and long-term approaches.
“We have no illusions about how hard the work is. That is why we have involved both those established and up-and-coming leaders in the community.
“This past week, I held two meetings at City Hall with various leaders in the African-American community. I also brought together gang outreach workers. Together around the table with Chief Reese and his command staff, we did more than just talk about the problem we’re facing. We agreed on a two-step approach:
1.) Immediate, short-term actions to break the cycle of illegal gun and gang violence fed by the fuels of retaliation and retribution; and
2.) Longer-term, sustained actions to address both the symptoms and the root causes of gang activity.
“Immediately, as I announced at today’s Gang Task Force meeting, I have directed Chief Reese to re-introduce an enhanced version of the successful YGAT (Youth Gun Anti-Violence Task Force) model. YGAT was a proven model until it was disassembled three years ago due to resource re-allocations within the bureau. I opposed the dismantling of YGAT then, and I’m eager to see a new and improved unit back in action in the near future. We will discuss the mission of this new unit, and the strategies that will be used, in more detail within the next few weeks.
“Also, we are acting on two levels simultaneously: The first strategy is to seek assistance from the circle of friends and family of individuals most vulnerable to committing further acts of violence as acts of retaliation. We have asked these individuals to reach out with the message to “Stop the Violence.”
“Second, the Chief will also direct police officers to strictly enforce laws and violations, including curfew laws, committed by gang members or those with gang affiliations. A large part of pre-empting gang violence in the coming days and weeks is to remove opportunities for conflict, and strict curfew enforcement does just that.
“As part of our long-term strategies to address gang violence, I have directed key staff in the City to conduct a thorough assessment of current anti-gang efforts, so we can carefully identify any gaps and implement new programs, if necessary.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to the dedicated organizations and individuals who are already involved in current gang prevention efforts and those who have stepped up in the past week to take action, specifically:
- Thank you to those who participated in the two meetings at the City Hall this week. We know those meetings were a starting point, and we will expand the circle of voices included in the meetings to come.
- Thank you to the leaders of Self-Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) for hosting a community forum on Wednesday evening to keep the discussion going and engage other voices in the community.
- And, thank you to the promoters of a concert who agreed to cancel the concert, an action taken to pre-empt possible gang-to-gang confrontation and retaliation.
“Consistent with the advice of anti-gang violence experts, we must present a unified front as we work together to implement short-term and long-term strategies to address gang violence in our community. I urge all Portlanders, from all backgrounds, neighborhoods and walks of life, to get involved. This effort will require work from everyone: parents, friends, faith leaders, neighborhood leaders, social service providers, law enforcement and government.”