November | December 2017

Acting Administrator Garry Highlights OJJDP Resources at Gang Prevention Summit

On November 1, 2017, OJJDP Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry joined state officials, community leaders, and law enforcement professionals at the Joint Summit on Gang Prevention and Intervention in Tacoma, WA, to share best practices for combating gang activity. The summit was hosted by the offices of Washington Governor Jay Robert Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, as well as numerous state juvenile justice, law enforcement, business, and other municipal organizations and agencies. Governor Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson offered introductory remarks.

In her remarks, Acting Administrator Garry emphasized that gang members cause a disproportionate amount of violence and crime. A survey of Seattle, WA, gang members, for example, found that these youth were three times more likely than nongang members to admit they had broken into homes and businesses and assaulted someone, and eight times more likely to have robbed someone.

Acting Administrator Garry shared information about OJJDP resources available to support Washington State’s campaign to reduce gang violence. Funded by OJJDP and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the National Gang Center offers an array of best-practice strategies, training, and strategic tools, including OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model. Evaluated and tested since the early 1990s, the model has been shown to be effective in reducing gang-related violence in multiple sites. It provides a framework for coordinated action to improve a community’s capacity to respond to youth gangs.

“The solution requires the contributions from everyone in the community,” Ms. Garry said. “Law enforcement, the courts and prosecutors, social services, the business community, educators, locally based organizations, the faith community, and parents and kids all must have a role in any community response to gangs.”

The summit featured an overview of the Comprehensive Gang Model by Meena Harris, Director of the National Gang Center, and Errika Fearbry Jones from The Pittsburgh Project. The model focuses on five essential strategies: community mobilization; the development of employment and educational opportunities for youth; intervention by schools, youth-serving agencies, and outreach workers to connect gang-involved youth to needed services; monitoring and suppression of violent activity; and policies and procedures to ensure the efficient use of resources across community agencies.

The event also featured a presentation by Dr. Phelan Wyrick, Director of the National Institute of Justice’s Crime and Crime Prevention Research Division. Among other topics, Dr. Wyrick discussed the importance of systematic data collection, research, and program evaluation; risk factors for joining a gang; and evidence-based solutions to gang activity.

In addition, the summit included a youth panel as well as information on the use of data and technology to inform policing strategies; police efforts in Washington State to combat gang-related crime through prevention, intervention, enforcement, and strategic community partnerships; the importance of community engagement and outreach; and an OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model site from Denver, CO, demonstrating best practices for leveraging limited resources and ensuring interagency collaborations.


For more information on anti-gang strategies, read Best Practices To Address Community Gang Problems: OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model.

OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide offers a wealth of research-based gang prevention and intervention programs that have been evaluated and been found to be effective.