IV. The Delinquency Prevention Promise
The alarming upward trends in juvenile crime and delinquency appear to be reversing: the numbers clearly are going down. We know that a combination of factors has contributed to this decline, but we have no doubt that concerted delinquency prevention efforts have played a major role. Since 1994, the Community Prevention Grants Program has provided local communities with the four essential ingredients needed to systematically implement a sustainable, research-based delinquency prevention strategy: a theory-driven, research-based framework; the tools for building on that framework; training and technical assistance to use those tools efficiently and cost-effectively; and local control of the process. In addition, OJJDP has worked closely with participating States and other government agencies to integrate the program's risk- and protection-focused approach to delinquency prevention into other community development and crime reduction strategies. As a result of these efforts and careful program monitoring, we have early and promising evidence that this systematic, local delinquency prevention strategy is making a difference.
Communities across the Nation have reported that their programs already have helped reduce risk factors for juvenile crime and delinquency and enhance the protective factors that contribute to healthy children and families. Perhaps moreimportant at this point, they are demonstrating unflagging commitment to planning, developing, and institutionalizing risk- and protection-focused delinquency prevention strategies. According to a member of the Prevention Policy Board in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for example, "We no longer envision ourselves as a short-term taskforce to address an immediate emergency, but as a permanent coalition of groups and organizations and individuals who are going to work long-term on delinquency prevention."
As research has shown, this long-term perspective and community-wide collaboration are critical to successful delinquency prevention. Given the promise of this community-driven approach to prevention, we must capitalize on the commitment and momentum that have been seeded throughout the country by continuing to support and reinforce the prevention imperative.
OJJDP also remains committed to working with the States and local communities through the Community Prevention Grants Program to help institutionalize strategic, data-driven delinquency prevention planning. In addition, we will continue to fine tune our understanding of how best to mobilize and equip communities to prevent juvenile crime and delinquency based upon the short- and long-term results of the national evaluation of the Community Prevention Grants Program.
Through the Title V Community Prevention Grants Program, communities are opening up their schools to both daytime and after-school delinquency prevention activities for children, families, and the community; helping children achieve academic success through tutoring and mentoring opportunities; and strengthening families through parent training and support. We have every reason to believe that prevention is making a difference. Rigorous scientific evidence indicates that delinquency prevention programs can prevent a host of later adolescent problems. Our role -- that of theFederal government -- is to partner with States and local communities in seeding and replicating proven and promising programs. OJJDP will continue to link sound research with policy and practice to help our partners realize the prevention promise.
1997 Report to Congress: Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs