Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Founded in 1969, the undertakes, promotes and disseminates research regarding the Chicana/o experience in California and the United States. In pursuing this goal, the Institute involves faculty, staff and students from all parts of the UC Santa Barbara campus. The Institute strives to coordinate its activities with Chicano, Latino and Mexican community organizations locally, nationally and internationally. The Institute is particularly committed to supporting research with policy implications.

Cover page of Strengthening Families: A Preliminary Report Regarding Youth Violence on the South Coast

Strengthening Families: A Preliminary Report Regarding Youth Violence on the South Coast


As the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury noted in its June 16, 2008 report on anti-gang efforts, approximately 90% of South Coast gang activity involves Latinos. This situation compels a thorough analysis of the factors that contribute to gang formation in local Latino communities. As regards youth violence prevention, research directs our attention to Latino families in particular, not because these families are inherently deficient or dysfunctional, but rather because they may be strongly impacted by economic hardship and may be underserved by local institutions. This report collects the thoughts of fifty local leaders, program administrators, and service providers, all of whom were asked to offer their ideas regarding how to reduce gang violence, and how to more productively engage Latino families in the process. As this report demonstrates, many local leaders who work closely with the Latino communities on the South Coast believe that strengthening Latino families will need to be a top priority if headway is to be made in preventing youth violence. This report suggests that anti-gang programs and services be initiated, maintained and evaluated with this priority in mind.