PORTLAND, Ore - Portland Mayor Tom Potter has called on a long-time community activist to lead a new crime prevention effort.
The mayor has hired John Canda to run a new city office that will focus on reducing violence particularly among gangs and youth.
Canda, 41, is currently the director of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods.
Last summer, after a series of shootings in downtown Portland, Canda spoke out about what needs to be done to keep young people out of trouble. "We need community leaders, mothers and fathers, clergy people and police out in the streets talking to young people," said Canda, "whomever they have relationships with, getting the message out that violence is never the answer, it just begets more violence."
According to the Mayor's office, the number of gang members in the city has gone up by 30 percent since 2003.
Canda says he also to use the office to determine the best approaches for the citys hot spots. "I look at this not only as a personal opportunity, but as an opportunity to keep this particular issue out there on the forefront, " said Canda.