The Southern Nevada Community Gang Task Force
Is a successful example of Public Collaboration. Its Law Enforcement and Community (all segments of the population) partnerships are reducing gang crimes and gang violence throughout Southern Nevada placing the “public servant” and the “ordinary citizen” into strategic collaboration.
Communities in Southern Nevada are successfully responding to gang activity by using the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model. The model was implemented by the Southern Nevada Community Gang Task Force in 2001. The success of the Southern Nevada Community Gang Task Force (also known as the Gang Task Force) has been largely due to its community mobilization component. The Las Vegas Valley’s overall community response to gang activity has been demonstrated by Gang Task Force membership increases, anti-gang program increased growth at the community level, and increased law enforcement every segment of the community to respond to gang activity in support/involvement. The implementation of the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model has created opportunities for the involvement of community residents, churches, community leaders, public officials, ex-gang members, and multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agencies. The model has provided the framework for their community.
Today, over 120 community agencies and 14 law enforcement jurisdictions work together in reducing gang activity throughout the Las Vegas Valley. The momentum of community support has continued to increase with the additional memberships of local casinos and community businesses. The capacity of a community to respond to gang activity has been directly proportionate to the level of community-wide support and participation of grassroots community efforts. Las Vegas Valley presents a blend of urban and suburban communities with varying socio-economic levels and cultural diversity. The successful recruitment of stakeholders from these communities and cultures has positioned the Gang Task Force for success.
Most importantly, the “sharing of existing resources” has strengthened relationships, focus, and dedication of Gang Task Force members. The community’s “know how” and the Comprehensive Gang Model’s “framework” compliments each other. The community lies at the center of the solution to its gang problem; however, it lacks the resources and organization to implement sustainable change. The model is a proven blueprint to building sustainable change but will fail without community support and participation.
The model’s framework enable civic leaders, community businesses, churches, and community based agencies to share resources and created new partnerships to keep grass root agency services (front line) open to serve youth and families impacted by the gang problem. The Southern Nevada Community Gang Task Force has begun assisting cities interested in implementing OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model.