Alexandria Gang prevention Community Task Force Newsletter
Fall 2013
   COMMUNITY CORNER
  • Preventing Human Trafficking
    Recently, the Fairfax County Police Department, Polaris Project, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Virginia Attorney General’s Office, along with local law enforcement agencies across northern Virginia, announced the receipt of a $1 million grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and Office for Victims of Crime.

    A total of $500,000 has been awarded to the Fairfax County Police Department over two years to fund, among other things, a new Human Trafficking Unit. A full-time detective and a full-time crime analyst are now dedicated to conducting human trafficking investigations and coordinating the overall investigative efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement members of the Human Trafficking Task Force in Northern Virginia. An additional $500,000, over two years, was awarded to the Polaris Project to provide services to victims of human trafficking issues in collaboration with the task force.

    The Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force was one of seven jurisdictions to receive funding.  The other jurisdictions that will receive grant awards under this program are Arlington, Texas; Riverside County, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Brooklyn, New York; Buffalo, New York; and Seattle, Washington.

    Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. 

    From Fiscal Year 2011 to the present, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has successfully prosecuted 24 federal cases against 57 defendants engaged in human trafficking and closely related conduct throughout northern Virginia. These convictions resulted in sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. These cases involved at least 38 juvenile victims of sex trafficking, more than 350 adult victims of prostitution and sexual exploitation, and two adult victims of forced labor.

    The Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force will continue to take an aggressive and innovative approach to investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases. In addition, the grant provides a comprehensive array of restorative services designed to meet specific victims’ individual needs. During the past year, the City of Alexandria has joined other jurisdictions in the northern Virginia region to address this topic through professional and community education and strategy development.  Human trafficking prevention (like gang, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and crime prevention), helps parents recognize warning signs, and raises the community's awareness; helps professionals to be proactive and responsive; and helps young people thrive.  Learn more at www.alexandriava.gov/gangprevention. To request information and training on human trafficking, contact Mike Mackey at mike.mackey@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.4496. 

    Learn more about human trafficking through: http://sharedhope.org/

    Watch the video: "Chosen", a documentary by Shared Hope International


   NEWS & EVENTS

  • National Night Out
    On August 6, teams from the Alexandria Gang Prevention Community Task Force, the Substance Abuse Coalition of Alexandria, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, and the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership canvassed the City during National Night Out, a nationwide crime-prevention initiative and celebration. Twelve teams circulated among the more than 30 neighborhoods that hosted events and community gatherings with the specific tasks of recruiting volunteer mentors (inviting them to attend a recruitment event in August) and promoting our Preventing Risky Behavior workshops throughout the City. 

    National Night Out

  • Summer Mentoring Information Session
    On August 12, the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership hosted a summer mentoring information session to recruit new volunteers at the beginning of the school year. Fifty community members attended a short presentation and light supper. This event, a precursor to a major recruitment event set for January, 2014 (see below regarding event during National Mentoring Month), was an effort to provide information about the value of mentoring – for both the child and the volunteer. One time a week for a year in the life of a child is proven to make a long-lasting impact on their growth and development.  Please consider volunteering. Check out www.alexandriava.gov/mentoring and contact Mike Mackey at mike.mackey@alexandriava.gov to learn how your hour a week can help a child and the community.  Mentor a child.  Change two lives.

    Alexandria Mentoring Partnership Video
    Alexandria Mentoring General Flyer

    Mentor Information Session

  • International Visitor Leadership Program
    On September 4, Alexandria and Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force were highlighted during panel discussion for a distinguished visitor who participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program through the State Department through a project focused on combating gang criminality. The project participant, Mr. Robert Jones, is the Commander of Newham Borough in the London Metropolitan Police Department.

    Commander Robert Jones
    Commander Robert Jones visits with representatives regarding gang prevention


  • Virginia Moves to Top of Polaris Project 2013 Anti-Human Trafficking State Rankings
    Coalition groups thank Governor Robert F. McDonnell and legislators for bipartisan work to punish human traffickers and support victims
    On September 5, 2013, Governor McDonnell recognized the strides that Virginia has made on the fight against human trafficking during an event with the Richmond Justice Initiative. The 2013 Polaris Project State Rankings moved Virginia into the top category (Tier 1) for efforts in fighting human trafficking, up from the lowest category (Tier 4) in 2010. The Richmond Justice Initiative presented Governor McDonnell and legislators with a cake to recognize and thank them for their ongoing bipartisan work to combat human trafficking in Virginia. 2013 marks the fourth year that the Polaris Project, a national advocacy organization focused on human trafficking, has graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranking them in one of four tiers. The ranking is based on ten categories of laws critical to establishing a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking, punish traffickers, and support survivors.

  • Delegation of Mexican Officials
    On October 8, the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force hosted a delegation of Mexican officials, who were learning about crime prevention strategies through community based initiatives, particularly through partnerships between government, law enforcement and civil society. This meeting was hosted by the Meridian International Center.

  • SAVE THE DATE:
    Mentoring Information Session - Learn how to become a mentor!
    Discover how an hour of your time per week can make a lasting impact on a child and the community!
    Tuesday, January 28, 2014
    The Lyceum
    201 S. Washington Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

   RESEARCH & RESOURCES
   QUICKLINKS
   ALEXANDRIA GANG PREVENTION COMMUNITY TASK FORCE
  • Members:

    Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg (Co-Chair)
    Councilman John Taylor Chapman (Co-Chair)
    Ms. Ronnie Campbell (ACPS School Board)
    Ms. Michele Evans (City Manager’s Office)
    Mr. Michael Cohen (High School Representative- TC Williams Academic Principal)
    Ms. Patricia Williamson (Middle School Representative – Jefferson Houston)
    Ms. Susan Stickles (Elementary School Representative – Technology Integration Specialist)
    Ms. Bonnie Baxley (Director – Community Lodgings, Inc.)
    Mr. James Williams (Tenant & Workers United)
    Mr. Merlin Alvarado (Youth representative)
    Mr. Noah Ray (Youth Representative)
    Mr. Thomas Walczykowski (Member, At-Large)
    Mr. Steven Jansen (Vice President/COO – Association of Prosecuting Attorneys – Member, At-Large)
    Inter-faith Representative (Vacant))
    Ms. Claritza “Cathy” Santiago (Parent Representative)
    Ms. Erin O’Leary  (Bishop Ireton H.S. Director of Counseling Services - Representative of Private Schools)
    Mr. Michael Johnson  (Business Representative)

    Mike Mackey (City of Alexandria Gang Prevention Coordinator) - call 703.746.4144 or email mike.mackey@alexandriava.gov