Public Safety

Monterey County leads the state with the highest youth murder rate of 31.24 per 100,000 residents ages 10 to 24. Santa Cruz ranked 15th in this same study by the Violence Policy Study.

COPA’s approach to stemming the tide of gang violence is to engage in prevention strategies to complement the suppression and intervention efforts of local government. We believe that if our kids are provided opportunities for supportive family life and positive community activities, they can find dignity, self-worth, and meaningful connections with caring adults to create high expectations for achievement.

COPA leaders are organizing to:

  • Implement the Bishop’s Covenant to Prevent Gang Violence and Build Safe Communities in Catholic parishes;
  • Build a Regional Soccer Complex in Salinas to provide more soccer playing fields and community gathering spaces;
  • Provide summer free Futsal (indoor soccer) and baseball in collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s League and Live Oak School District;
  • Expand the Boys and Girls club to serve Live Oak families;
  • Engage and support parents in preparing their children for college through the Achievement Academies.
  • Bring additional safety resources to unincorporated communities in Monterey County.


  • Bishop Garcia

    In 2013, 70 leaders met with Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak to build trust with the local immigrant community (read article)

  • Partnered with Bishop Garcia to launch the Diocese of Monterey’s “Bishop’s Covenant to Prevent Gang Violence and Build Safe Communities” at a 5000 person Stand Up for Peace procession in East Salinas. Read “Diocese of Monterey, COPA partners for March 27 Peace March in Salinas,” The Salinas Californian, March 17, 2010.
  • Secured an MOU between the Salinas City Council and the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to allow the City of Salinas to lease 42 acres from the County for the construction of 11 soccer fields as part of the proposed Regional Soccer Complex in Salinas. Read The Salinas Californian Editorial, “A shot on goal for local soccer,” Feb. 23, 2010.
  • Over 200 parents have participated in the Achievement Academies held with parents of the religious education program at Sacred Heart parish in Salinas over the last 3 years.
  • Launched a free Summer Futsal (indoor soccer) program for 200 kids in Live Oak in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Activity League, Live Oak School District and Live Oak Family Resource Center. Read More than just for kicks” Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 15, 2010.
  • 100 COPA Leaders met with Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak  at Live Oak Elementary School to discuss the Trust Act and safety policies in the county.

COPA : Welcome !


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