As the work within our Apex Youth programme has engaged us more with young people who are actively involved in the local gang culture it has become apparent that something significant needs to be done to offer these young people an alternative way to live.
According to the Barking & Dagenham Young People’s Safety Group report from November 2010 they report that 64 young people were accused of a knife crime within that period and 3 of gun crime. However, there were 360 victims of knife crime and 54 victims of gun crime during that same period.
In 2007, the borough was selected as one of 44 criminal hotspot areas from around the nation to be the subject of a special crime fighting focus through the establishment of Regional Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRP’s) to target prolific offenders, anti-social behavior and organised crime. Consultation has identified a need for the development of multiple contact points, bridging communities and creating community cohesion between people from different backgrounds.
Taking into consideration all of these facts and statistics we here have launched the ‘Cruz’ mentoring project to tackle and address these issues.
The aim of this project can be summed up under the following five headings:
1) To divert current gang members away from the gang culture into positive activities that build community cohesion.
2) To educate young people in the dangers of gang culture
3) To link in with the gang members environment by building relationships with their families, parents, girlfriends and peers.
4) To develop the leadership skills of gang leaders in a positive way so they become a positive influence on their peers.
5) To provide support to gang members wishing to exit the gang culture.
The Cruz Mentoring Project works alongside the current Apex Youth programme.
If you would like to know more about this project then please contact Reg at the church office.