Cunningham leading effort on gang prevention, victim protection
–Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) is leading the effort to fund the California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention program (CalGRIP) in this year’s state budget. Cunningham has also introduced legislation to help victims feel safe bringing forward information about gang activity. Both proposals are co-sponsored by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella).
Assemblyman Cunningham submitted a formal request to the Assembly Budget Committee to fund the CalGRIP program. CalGRIP has historically provided grant funding to cities to support prevention, intervention and/or suppression activities in efforts to stamp out gang violence. The governor’s latest budget proposal eliminates the program.
“There are great programs already underway to combat gang activity on the Central Coast, such as Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino’s Youth Task Force,” said Cunningham. “We need to provide resources to local cities who are working with young people to keep them off the streets and reduce gang violence.”
In response to the CalGRIP effort, Edwin Weaver, Executive Director of Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, expressed support: “I’d really like to thank Assemblyman Cunningham for fighting for us by supporting these gang prevention funds. This is a great opportunity for our city to build a stronger community. This grant will help strengthen our community’s youth and family goals.”
Cunningham is also pushing policies to protect victims of gang crimes and ensure their names remain confidential. By keeping names confidential, victims can feel safe to bring forward testimony in gang-related cases.
Violent crime has been on the rise in recent years, and the California Attorney General’s office noted that 29 percent of homicides in 2015 were gang-related. In 2016, Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin said about 60 to 70 percent of their homicides are due to gang members or gang associates.
Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham is a small business owner, former Templeton School Board Member, husband and father of four. He represents all of San Luis Obispo County and a portion of Santa Barbara County, including Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Cambria, Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Nipomo, Orcutt, Pismo Beach, Templeton, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Maria, and surrounding communities.