Although the Urban Institute disagrees with him, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says that his gang prevention and intervention are helping reduce the city’s gang crime rate.

His Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, which as started in 2007, has used millions in city funds and state and federal grants to work to address a gang crime rate that spiked in 2007. For $28 million, the Mayor says the results are incontrovertible. Gang crime rates are down 17%.

The program uses a variety of tools, including response teams of former gang members who respond to every scene of gang shootings in an attempt to dissuade retaliatory violence. Along with counseling youths to leave the gang, the GRYD teams to find alternate activities for youths. It is a model that is being copied all over the country.

However, the Urban Institute says that the drop in crime may not be attributed to the city’s program. The Urban Institute cites statistics that show the crime rate was already dropping before the city’s program was active.

From the LA Times:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took issue Monday with a study that said there was no evidence a multimillion-dollar anti-gang program had reduced crime, telling a youth violence summit in Washington that Los Angeles is safer than any time since the 1950s.

“Not since I was born has L.A. been this safe,” Villaraigosa said.

Read the full article here.