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Gang Resistance Is Paramount



In an attempt to curb gang membership and discourage future gang involvement, the city of Paramount, California, initiated the Gang Resistance Is Paramount (GRIP) program. The city of Paramount and the Paramount Unified School District have been collaborating for 20 years to provide the GRIP program to Paramount children and their parents. The program includes three major components. The first involves neighborhood meetings that provide parents with support, assistance, and resources as they try to prevent their children from joining gangs. The second component comprises a 15-week course for fifth-grade students and a 10-week course for second-grade students. The lessons deal with graffiti, peer pressure, tattoos, the impact of gang activity on family members, drug abuse, and alternative activities and opportunities. Finally, a school-based follow-up program is implemented at the ninth-grade level to reinforce what children learned in the elementary grades. The program is designed to build self-esteem and also focuses on the consequences of a criminal lifestyle, the benefits of higher education, and future career opportunities.

GRIP has been evaluated in six separate studies. The first two tested elementary students before and after participation in the program. Prior to the program, 50 percent of students were undecided about gang involvement; after participation, 90 percent responded negatively toward gangs compared with a control group who showed no change over that time period. The third and forth studies surveyed seventh- and ninth-graders who had participated in the program; both showed that 90 percent still had negative attitudes toward gangs. The fifth study cross-checked the names of program participants with police records and found that 96 percent were not identified as gang members. The sixth study showed that only 6 percent of ninth-graders who had participated in GRIP reported being involved in gang activity compared with 9 percent of youths in the control group.

Risk Factors


Antisocial/delinquent beliefs

Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)

Early and persistent noncompliant behavior

Early onset of aggression/violence

Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)

General delinquency involvement

High alcohol/drug use

Lack of guilt and empathy

Low perceived likelihood of being caught

Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)

Physical violence/aggression

Poor refusal skills

Victimization and exposure to violence

Violent victimization


Low academic aspirations

Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school

Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers

Unsafe schools


Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood

Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood

Low neighborhood attachment

Neighborhood youth in trouble


Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency

Association with gang-involved peers/relatives

Peer alcohol/drug use

Peer rejection


National Gang Center: Promising program

Merit Award winner by the Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership and the California Center for Civic Renewal


Community Services and Recreation Department
15300 Downey Ave.
Paramount, CA
Phone: (562) 220-2121


Arnette, J. L., and Walsleben, M. C. (1998). “Combating Fear and Restoring Safety in Schools.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Solis, A., Schwartz, W., and Hinton, T. (2003). Gang Resistance Is Paramount (GRIP) Program Evaluation: Final Report October 1, 2003. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, USC Center for Economic Development.

Date Created: April 7, 2021