Gang Violence

Strategy: Gang Prevention Through Community Intervention With High-Risk Youth

The goal of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is to “be the nation’s leader in helping people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime.” This source, written by the NCPC, centers on the effectiveness of coordinated intervention by the community and law enforcement personnel to reduce the probability that youth will join gangs. Low-income communities “have high concentrations of poverty and joblessness and poor coordination of prevention services among local government agencies and community organizations.” The NCPC provides a well-rounded resource as it addresses the concerns of communities that currently experience gang violence and those that are afraid to stop the violence due to the risk of retaliation. The source states that it is vital to support collaborative efforts, explaining that the “involvement of police agencies, educators, job-training resources, parents, and community groups is essential to success.” Results from a study by a University of Chicago researcher revealed that the Gang Violence Reduction Program “helped slow the increase in violent gang-related crime in Little Village. Gang homicides declined from fifteen in the year before the program began to seven in each of the two years since its inception.” Chicago has experienced extensive gang violence for some years now and this strategy has proven to be effective. The success of such programs can pave a way for other cities.

“Strategy: Gang Prevention Through Community Intervention With High-Risk Youth.” National Crime Prevention Council. Web. 16 July 2014. <http://www.ncpc.org/topics/violent-crime-and-personal-safety/strategies/strategy-gang-prevention-through-community-intervention-with-high-risk-youth>.

 

Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs (p. 9-16)

This report written by James Howell was published in December 2010 by the U.S. Department of Justice. It states that it is imperative for communities to create gang-problem assessments, which includes defining “gangs” and answering the questions, “Where are they?,” “Who is involved?,” and “What type of crimes are being committed?” The purpose of these assessments is to determine the levels of gang activity, so they can be easier to combat. What sets this source apart is how it analyzes different age groups and the different factors that influence children towards a path of delinquency. Page 10 has a continuum figure that displays this information. For example, the first age group is three years old, which should be the time when parents prevent aggressive behavior. Greater influence then emerges at the school setting, specifically from peers, until this negative behavior develops as part of the individual’s traits leading them to join a gang. The author ultimately imposes three strategies, ordered by efficiency to counterattack gang behavior based on the age and circumstance.

Howell, James C. “Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs.” Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. U.S. Department of Justice. December 2010. p. 9-16. Web. 25 July 2014. <https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/231116.pdf>.

 

Preventing Gang Violence and Building Communities Where Young People Thrive (p. 57-66)

This report by the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families focuses on outreach programs to stop gang violence. The source explains that violent youth have distrust for police and authority. Thus, the role of outreach workers and police officers becomes that much more important. For example, the mayor can help expedite service delivery, which includes easing collaborations among service organizations. This piece gives a powerful example of outreach implementation in Chicago, one of America’s cities with the highest rates of gang violence. CeaseFire Chicago reduces levels of violence and works with youth who would like to leave gangs. This proves to be difficult because the people closest to them are members of gangs, however the program works towards having its employees make a positive impact ensuring that they are not negatively influenced. Other strategies include getting a full analysis of gang violence, hiring effective role models, and having programs that build trust. Page 62 states, “Extensive training and periodic refresher training sessions help maintain focus and promote adherence to program tenets.”

“Preventing Gang Violence and Building Communities Where Young People Thrive.” National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. p. 57-66. Web. 25 July 2014. <http://www.nlc.org/documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/IYEF/Violence %20Prevention/preventing-gang-violence-kit-jan10.pdf>.

 

The Wrong Approach to Gangs

“The Wrong Approach to Gangs” is a 2007 article published by The New York Times. Los Angeles is considered the “gang capital of America” and is a city struggling to control the rampant problem. The article begins with the incredible fact that the city has had “six times as many gangs and double the number of gang members as a quarter-century ago, even after spending countless billions on the problem.” One solution proposed is that prevention programs should encourage children to take part in healthy extracurricular activities to avoid gang involvement. Also, “law enforcement tools need to be used in a targeted way — and directed at the 10 percent or so of gang members who commit violent crimes.” This article addresses a gang control bill, which was circulating in Congress in 2007. The part of the bill that supports helping children avoid gang life is key. However, the bill focuses too little on prevention and too much on policing. Violence prevention programs are necessary, but strengthening law enforcement alone is not enough.

“The Wrong Approach to Gangs.” The New York Times. 19 July 2007. Web. 12 August 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/19/opinion/19thur3.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A %22RI%3A16%22%7D&_r=0>.

 

L.A. Chooses Group to Run Anti-Gang Academy

This news article from Los Angeles Times announces the 2010 creation of a city anti-gang academy to train and license intervention workers. Interestingly enough, two programs were going to be put in place, but since they had different philosophies the contract was put up for bid. The Advancement Project received the contract and beat out the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute. Competition between service organizations has not been discussed in the other sources in this Chapter because most of them highlighted the power of collaboration. However, competition is an important reality to note and overcome. The city anti-gang academy carefully monitors that each program participant is not a current gang member, although there may be some who have been gang members in the past. Incorporating past gang members is beneficial because it brings useful experience and knowledge, and can help support the program’s tenets ensuring that past members do not revert back to gang life.

Willon, Phil. “L.A. Chooses Group to Run Anti-Gang Academy.” Los Angeles Times. 8 January 2010. Web. 12 August 2014. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/08/local/la-me-gang-intervention8-2010jan08>.

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