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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
July 22, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

Kelly Restuccia
609-292-4791

 

New Jersey Gang Violence Prevention Video Wins International Awards

TRENTON – Attorney General Peter C. Harvey’s public awareness video about gangs in New Jersey has gained international recognition in two recent media awards competitions. The video, “Gangs, Guns, and Drugs” – part of Attorney General Harvey’s effort to reduce gang violence in the state – received three Telly Awards and one award from the intermedia WorldMediaFestival.

“It was an honor to have our anti-gang work recognized by an international body,” said Attorney General Harvey. “But what’s even more important is educating parents and caretakers about the dangers of gangs. We know the video won’t solve New Jersey’s gang problem, but community education is an important component of gang prevention. By providing educational tools for our communities, we can give parents the information they need to keep their children safe.”

The video was one of more than 10,000 entries in the international Telly Awards competition, where it won awards in the three separate categories. At the World Media Festival in Hamburg, Germany, “Gangs, Guns, and Drugs” won a silver intermedia-globe award. Although many American videos were entered in the competition, few entries from the United States won an award.

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

The video, entitled “Gangs, Guns, and Drugs,” is a small step toward making communities safer. It demonstrates through compelling interviews and disturbing photographs that gang life is not glamorous – it is a road to prison, violent death and disfiguring or disabling injury. The video is an honest, personal portrayal of gangs and gang issues in New Jersey, and includes interviews with former gang members, law enforcement officials, and the parents of murdered gang members.

“Gangs, Guns, and Drugs” has already been used in many municipalities, and Attorney General Harvey plans to continue utilizing resources like the instructional video to convey the grisly truth about gangs to young people and their mentors.

The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has distributed more than 10,000 copies of “Gangs, Guns, and Drugs” to law enforcement officers, educators, community groups and other stakeholders since 2004. The video, which has also been used by law enforcement agencies in other states, is just one part of Attorney General Harvey’s larger effort to combat gangs in New Jersey. His initiative, also entitled “Gangs, Guns, and Drugs,” has led to the arrests of hundreds of gang members across the state.

According to a 2004 survey conducted by the New Jersey State Police Street Gang Bureau, there are 148 distinct gangs and more than 16,000 gang members in New Jersey.

In addition to his effort to stamp out existing gangs, Attorney General Harvey has also taken a pro-active approach to discourage young people from joining gangs. In December 2004, he announced PROJECT VISION, which is a violence prevention initiative that provides after-school “safe havens” where young people can go to play, do homework, interact with law enforcement officials, and most importantly, keep off the streets. These alternatives to street life are crucial because, according to the 2004 State Police survey, 40 percent of gang crimes occur in parking lots, playgrounds, parks and schools. Gang recruitment also happens in these types of places, said ex-gang members interviewed for the “Gangs, Guns, and Drugs” video.

The award-winning video was created by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice in cooperation with the East Coast Gang Investigators’ Association and the New Jersey State Police. It was produced by NJN New Jersey Network and can be viewed at www.NJGangFree.org.

The World Media Festival awards recognize excellence in modern communications media, and are acknowledged internationally as symbols of the highest production standards in modern communication. The award is one of the world's highest honors for audiovisual communications solutions, and award winners are among the leaders in their professions. The World Media Festival is sponsored my intermedia, a European media production and distribution company.


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