City Council approves $330K youth crime prevention grant

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station
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Santa Clarita will receive a piece of more than $25.5 million in state grant dollars to continue funding programs aimed at curbing youth crime across the valley, a move made possible with a recent vote by the City Council. 

At its Nov. 12 meeting, council members accepted the Citizens Option for Public Safety grant for the fiscal year 2019-20 in the amount of $330,543 from Los Angeles County, which allocated funds for cities from the $6.2 million it received from the state. 

Assembly Bill 1913, known as the Schiff-Cardenas Crime Prevention Act and signed into law by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2000, has provided funding to cities and counties for juvenile justice programs and frontline law enforcement officers, including for the Citizens Option for Public Safety initiative. 

For the 2019-20 fiscal year, counties across the state received anywhere from $12,000 to $6.2 million — the highest amount, which L.A. received. Funds awarded are based on population. 

In Santa Clarita, grant dollars will go toward funding the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Career Offenders, Burglary, Robbery and Assault, or COBRA team, partially to pay for the salaries of the specialized team members and to fund the city’s community court diversion program, according to a city staff report. COBRA aims to decrease gang activity, graffiti and other juvenile crimes, as well as offers gang-and-drug education awareness. 

Over the past four fiscal years, Santa Clarita has consistently received about $330,000 to fund the COBRA team. 

On behalf of the team, Operations Lt. John Lecrivain expressed “our appreciation for the council’s approval of the grants to go toward COBRA in our ongoing efforts to reduce gang crime and affect change in criminal behavior.”

Among their most recent incidents investigated, the COBRA team helped prevent children who return to school from being approached by recruiting gang members, arrested three people suspected of being gang members and cleared a Newhall apartment of drug dealing, graffiti and drinking in the streets. 

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