Skip to header Skip to main content Skip to footer
Helpful Village logo
Add me to your mailing list
Youtube channel Facebook page
Header image for Pasadena Village showing nearby mountains and the logo of the Pasadena Village

Blog archive

April 2024

March 2024

February 2024

January 2024

Addressing Gang Violence in Pasadena-Altadena

By Richard Myers
Posted: 02/21/2024
Tags: gangs, violence, prevention
The 1619, Lingering Imprint Discussion Group met Feb. 16, 2024 at 12:00 PM PST.  The group had a presentation by Ricky Pickens, a Gang Outreach Intervention Coordinator.  The meeting was recorded and is available on the Pasadena Village Youtube channel.
Mr. Pickens began by addressing a question from a community member asking why he was presenting to a group of elders about gangs.  He shared his reply, everyone in the community is effected by gangs in some way.
Mr. Pickens shared some brief biographical information. In 2004, he was hired by the Pasadena Police Department to work in gang intervention.  Gang activity had increased in the city beginning in 1999 and in response the Intervention Unit was formed.  Mr. Pickens was born and grew up in Pasadena and was very familiar with the communities effected by the rise in gang related activity.
In 2020, there was an increase in the number of gang shootings and Gang Outreach Workers and Violence Interruptors were added by Steve Mermill, then City Manager.  This group worked behind the scenes to stop violence before it happens.  The approach used is to work at the street level, mediate conflicts, manage anger through peer mentoring, offer support for day to day coping and develop personal relationships.
The focus is on prevention, intervention and referral.  An emphasis is placed on job training and employment.
In Pasadena 10 percent of black gang members and 5 percent of Latino gang members are considered hard core members.  These individuals commit most of the violence. The remaining members are affiliated but do not engage in retaliation or other violent acts.
Mr. Pickens then shared trends in the gang community beginning with the amount of gang related violence.  Gang related violence is more prevalent in urban areas, 67 percent, with suburban areas reporting 17 percent.  Gangs are also involved in human trafficking with almost 50 percent of the crime related to trafficking, most involving females.  The most common crimes are home invasion, smash and grab, strong arm robbery and social media scams.
Mr. Pickens next discussed how Pasadena Village could help support intervention efforts indicating resources and advocacy were critical. In addition to monetary assistance, donations, gift cards,referrals for employment were valuable. 
Mr. Pickens concluded by answering attended questions.
The next meeting of the group will by March 1st at 10 AM PST. We will see another Conversation with Art, presented by Helane Rhinegold. The focus of the presentation will be on "Blacks Portrayed by Euopean Artists Through the Centuries."  Helane has done a number of presentations for us which you can findon  our Youtube channel. They are always conversational and very engaing and informative. It's fun to be present!
Guests are welcome at these zoom presentations. Please call our office at (626) 765-6037 for more information and to get the link for the meeting on March 1st.
Blogs Topics Posts about this Topic