Concerned that youngsters are joining gangs because they do not have enough recreational activities, a City Council committee plans to study the need for after-school programs in Long Beach parks and schools.
At the request of Councilman Clarence Smith, the council on Tuesday agreed to ask its three-member Quality of Life Committee to review what programs are needed and how to fund additional ones.
"The closing down of any recreational facility is a crime. It's a crime because it creates crime," resident Fred Kugler told the council.
Smith, who chairs the Quality of Life Committee, has consistently emphasized the city's need to create more parks and recreational programs for children and teen-agers. In the low-income neighborhoods, where there are fewer parks, "youths formed their own clubs, and they're called gangs," Smith said.