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Gun Use by Male Juveniles: Research and Prevention

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2001
12 pages
Publication Series
This study discussed results from the Rochester Youth Development Study, a longitudinal analysis of illegal gun ownership and use by juveniles, and current prevention efforts aimed at reducing juvenile gun violence.
The bulletin begins with the discussion and results of the Rochester Youth Development Study (RYDS) a longitudinal study that investigated the development of delinquent behavior, drug use, and related behaviors among a group of urban adolescents. The analysis was based on data for boys only. The RYDS data sample consisted of 1,000 adolescents selected from seventh and eighth grade public school students in Rochester, New York. By age 15, about 6 percent of the boys in the study owned guns for protection. This gun ownership was related to a wide range of undesirable delinquent behaviors, including gun carrying, gang membership, and drug selling. Depending on their age, between 5 and 10 percent of the boys carried hidden guns on the street, and the percentage increased with age and was associated with different types of delinquency at different ages. The findings of the study suggested that interventions must begin when boys are quite young. The remaining sections of the bulletin described efforts to understand and prevent juvenile gun violence. Additional research and their implications on reducing illegal gun carrying and gun violence are discussed and include the Boston Gun Initiative and the Youth Firearms Violence Initiative. In 1997, the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) awarded community demonstration grants to three cities--Baton Rouge, LA; Oakland, CA; and Syracuse, NY--to implement its Partnerships to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence Program. Each of the Partnerships Program communities is implementing several youth gun violence reduction strategies. The implementation of the Baton Rouge Partnership is highlighted. Research consistently found illegal firearm use among juveniles was a relatively small and localized problem. In addition, within specific cities or counties, very specific neighborhoods harbored most of the juvenile illegal firearm problem. A small percentage of youth within the urban area were responsible for the majority of illegal gun carrying and gun crime. These results suggested that interventions targeting specific “hot spots” could succeed in deterring illegal gun use among boys. The study suggested that effective efforts are dependent on community participation, as well as actions taken by law enforcement and other criminal and juvenile justice agencies. References

Date Published: July 1, 2001