Representatives from the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC) joined mayors, law enforcement officials, community groups, foundations, and scholars at the White House Conference on Gang Violence and Crime Control this week to discuss effective strategies for preventing criminal activity and eliminating the influence of gangs in cities. The conference highlighted the importance of municipal leadership and city partnerships with the federal government in preventing crime and violence.

Carolyn Coleman, NLC's director of federal relations, and John Calhoun, an NLC senior consultant and director of the California Cities Gang Prevention Network, represented NLC at the conference. "This conference is an excellent opportunity for cities and the federal government to learn from one another and find ways to partner in collaborative crime prevention efforts," NLC Executive Director Donald Borut said in a statement before the meeting.

Faced with significant budget constraints, cities in the California Cities Gang Prevention Network have found that they could develop and implement comprehensive local plans more effectively if federal and state law provided more flexibility to address their most pressing needs, according to NLC. Among the key recommendations from the network that NLC shared at the conference are policy changes that require increased accountability for measurable outcomes in exchange for greater flexibility in the use of state and federal funds.

View more information on the conference, and more information on the California Cities Gang Prevention Network on its Web site.

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