U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Develop & Deliver Standardized T&TA & Support to Recipient Law Enforcement Agencies

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2000, $4,999,963)

Watsonsville is the second largest city in Santa Cruz County and is located on Monterery Bay, less than 50 miles from "Silicon Valley." The city faces multiple drug problems, including street-level heroin markets, marijuana cultivation, and off-shore unloading of drugs. Also, authorities have identified over 300 active gang members. Violent crime rose 33 percent from 1991- 1992, and Watsonville's violent crime rate is significantly higher than the national average. The economy has been negatively affected by lingering aftershocks from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and many plant closings. Bad weather for several consecutive years has hurt the largely agricultural economy, and the closure of Fort Ord resulted in many lost jobs. In 1992, unemployment in this area was 18.7 percent. The police department implemented a community policing program and operates a three-officer gang unit that takes both preventative and enforcement measures. Five local agencies participate in a "Gang Intervention Team," and the police and other officials work through the Santa Cruz Criminal Justice Council. The police department is currently working with a foundation to support the operations of a satellite police station. The Award Valley Unified School District will provide the matching funds for one of the new officers who will be assigned to the high school and its surrounding community to increase police/community interaction and problem solving. The officer will work with the students and the neighborhood to identify specific strategies. The second officer will be a "More Alternatives for Safety" officer, who will coordinate all existing community policing programs. These include the above- mentioned efforts as well as: DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), Truancy Abatement Crime Suppression, anti-graffiti paint-outs, and leadership for the South Main Business Association.

Date Created: June 25, 2000