Six Cities Work To Prevent Youth Violence

Photo of working session of National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention
Teams of youth violence experts from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, CA, and San Jose, CA, gathered in Washington, DC, for a 2-day meeting to share successful strategies for reducing youth violence in their communities.
In a working session of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention on October 31–November 1, 2011, teams from the cities of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, CA, and San Jose, CA, met with federal agencies in Washington, DC, to share information and experience about evidence-based practices to prevent youth and gang violence and to help formerly incarcerated youth successfully reenter their communities. The teams were composed of law enforcement officers, policy and public-health experts, educators, researchers, city officials, social services providers, community and faith leaders, and concerned parents. The forum was launched at the direction of President Barack Obama in October 2010.

The working session offered presentations and panel discussions designed to help the six cities implement their comprehensive plans to reduce violence and improve opportunities for youth. The cities officially released the plans in a meeting of the forum in April 2011. Topics covered at the working session included youth and family engagement; community- and faith-based outreach; evidence-based prevention, intervention, and enforcement strategies; multidisciplinary partnerships; successful strategies for data integration; and Web resources to assist forum sites in finding critical resources and information.

photo of  Attorney General Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Laurie O. Robinson (seated to the Attorney General's left) offered opening remarks at the working session of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.

In a blog posted on the U.S. Department of Justice's Web site on November 8, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder reported that the work of the forum was "already beginning to take hold." He cited several examples of cities' progress in implementing their comprehensive plans to address youth violence:

  • The city of Memphis has created a Crime Prevention Unit consisting of 90 officers focused on reaching at-risk youth before they come in contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Officials in Chicago have established a Youth Shooting Review Panel—a pilot project that will identify patterns, gaps in key services, and effective strategies to prevent shootings among school-age youth.
  • San Jose has become part of a countywide Reentry Network. The network provides assessment and programming to youth who are both in custody and in the community, along with resources to help them transition to a more stable, self-sufficient and successful lifestyle.

"The work we are doing is sending an unmistakable message: that, in this country, we will not give up on our children when it comes to combating youth violence," Attorney General Holder said in his opening remarks. "The priorities that we set now are what will allow America's next generation of leaders to rise above the current threats and obstacles, break destructive cycles and seize tomorrow's opportunities."

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To learn more about the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, visit FindYouthInfo.gov.