I read the recently published article DA blasts board on anti-gang funding (Jan. 29, Page A1). As a teenager raised in Merced I feel maybe gang violence cant be stopped completely, but it can be slowed. Creating more jobs for more people is one solution. If people can make a living then the 24.6 percent of Merced County residents who live in poverty, according to the census, will be less inclined to use dangerous or illegal means to provide for their families.
For young victims of gang violence, expanding programs such as the Isaiah Project, which keeps kids off the streets by giving them fun and productive activities after school, could go a long way to helping them find a way out of the cycle of violence and crime.
Creating a teen lounge just for young people, having a sanctioned graffiti area for art, bringing back the bowling alley and expanding the skate park all of these things would help keep our youth from the gang life. There are enough empty buildings all over Merced to house these things. We can help make Merceds streets safer and our community healthier.