Grant Awarded to Fight Juvenile Crime

The Ventura Police Department and the Ventura County Probation Department have been awarded a $348,000 state grant geared toward fighting juvenile crime in Ventura.

Awarded last week, the grant from the state office of criminal justice planning will draw together police, schools, probation officials, volunteers, the business community and others in an effort to deter youths from crime.

The 18-month grant also will fund increased supervision by police and probation officers of violent, habitual juvenile criminals, Police Chief Richard Thomas said in a report to be presented Monday to the City Council.

The money will be used to hire a youth services officer in the Police Department and a deputy probation officer assigned specifically to youth cases.

The new officers will work to steer problem youths to a variety of intervention and treatment programs around the county.

"There are a wide array of programs and services available in the community, but there is no program or system in place in Ventura to ensure that these services are delivered to youth that could benefit the most," Thomas wrote in his report to the City Council.

Thomas says the grant could be extended for another year if the program proves successful.

A 17-member Community Prevention Board has been set up to oversee the program.

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