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Rotarians hear about efforts to keep children out of gangs

FALLBROOK – On May 11, Rotarians heard how concerned citizens in the greater Fallbrook area can help suppress gang activity and crime.

Speaking to the Rotarians, Pat Braendel, president and founder of the Fallbrook Citizens Crime Prevention Committee, and Rudy Rudisell, of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, explained how they became involved in crime prevention activities. Both said they were concerned about the increasing level of gang activities in the area, drug trafficking, and crime statistics in general.

These two individuals have provided talks and meetings to the community and various organizations. Rudisell has taken the crime prevention message into many school districts.

Rudisell said it is young people ages 12 to 14 who are most prone to join a gang. He also explained how these youth are recruited into the gang culture, and what is expected of them by the gang. He said, “The gangs take the place of the family, and the gang members owe their loyalty only to the gang, no one else.” He also spoke on gangs and their involvement in drugs and prostitution. Rudisell explained that the hours from 2 to 7 p.m. are when youth are most vulnerable, and it is the most productive times to recruit new gang members. If both parents work, and there is no home, church, or school activities to keep them busy, Rudisell said children may be more receptive to gang offers.

Rudisell and Braendel have also had success with with young people ages 9 to 14 through a mentoring program. They said the program is comprehensive and mentored by knowledgeable volunteers. Mentors help the youth establish realistic goals, follow up on their progress, and helps them through “tough times.”


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