DA takes on gangs with ad campaign

District Attorney Dolores Carr announced an ad campaign Thursday that will put stark messages about gang life on billboards, buses and TV commercials.

Carr made the announcement at a press conference Thursday at noon in front of a billboard picturing a cemetery and the words, "Gangs have special places for your children. We can help."

The ad will be seen soon on posters, VTA buses and billboards around Santa Clara County, along with a hotline that parents and others can call for help: (408) 808-FREE.

"We believe the ad has an edge to it," said Nick Muyo, public information officer for the district attorney's office.

Carr reportedly got the campaign idea from a visit to Fresno where a similar ad campaign already exists. County officials will measure the effectiveness of the campaign by how many calls the hotline receives by July. A Web site has been created for the campaign at

A TV ad in both English and Spanish portrays a gang member who died from gang violence. He apologizes to his mother and says, "You can make the argument I got what I deserved, but my family and my loved ones didn't deserve what I did to them."

Muyo says gang problems have gotten bad enough in the county that gang members have gone from just targeting rivals to targeting youth who aren't gang members.

"Many times these are kids going to school minding their own business and because they aren't a member of a gang, they are targeted," Muyo said.

The campaign is aimed at various people affected by gangs, from bullied youth to parents to community members. A pamphlet posted on the site explains that "The tougher it gets to be a kid, the tougher it gets to be a parent!"

The Web site includes links to nonprofit and government services and information, including parenting classes run in Mountain View by the Community Health Awareness Council on Wednesday evenings (contact Martha Cravens at (650) 965-2020, ext. 30 or at


Like this comment
Posted by rr
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2009 at 8:12 am

Dolores Carr needs to spend some money to actually prosecute gang bangers as adults. A slap on the hand does not work.
The Juvenile system in Santa Clara County is awful. Take a look at San Mateo County's Juvenile system. They actually do something. In this County, juveniles who break into your home and make off with your valuables get to go home to their parents. How do you like that?

Like this comment
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

rr -- can you provide additional info about what San Mateo does? Can you cite some references?

Like this comment
Posted by Johnny Robots
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

This is pure unadulterated pork. Advertising doesn't keep kids out of gangs, it enhances the cash flow of somebody connected to a politician.

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