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Santa Maria crime prevention program wants to keep kids off the streets one book at a time

A new crime prevention program wants to keep kids off the streets –one book at a time. Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley donated more than 100 books to the Santa Maria Public Library on Friday.

“Crime prevention is to put somebody in jail and they can’t get out and they can’t hurt anybody -that’s crime prevention,” Dudley said. “But the better form is to stop the crime from ever occurring.”

That’s why she decided to encourage reading and education from an early age.

“We are convinced that if children stay in school they are less likely to be both victims of crime, and perpetrators.”

The D.A also said children can sometimes find a sense of community in the wrong places.

“If they’re not connecting with kids in school, they’re gonna connect with gang members on the street.

So she’s letting books do all the work.

“We see that early intervention with children is key to keeping them in school and engaged and learning, and the library is just a very natural place for them to do that,” librarian Joanne Britton explained.

The used donated books were gathered by Dudley and other members at the D.A’s office.

“These are books that [employees at the D.A’s office] had with their children,” said Dudley.

The books are available at the Book Store inside the Santa Maria Public Library. They’re free of charge, but a 50 cent donation is encouraged. The library also welcomes children’s books donations for this program.

To check out library hours and other programs, visit their website.

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