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Youth Violence: A Community-Based Response -- One City's Success Story

NCJ Number
Date Published
21 pages
The foundation of Boston's approach to youth violence has been to build coalitions and partnerships among police, prosecutors, probation officers, correctional officials, youth and social service personnel, school officials, judges, health professionals, parents, and young people; these partnerships allow organizations and individuals to share information, keep track of at risk-youth and violent young offenders, and coordinate resources to help youth.
Boston's initiatives rely on community organizations, individuals, and the business community and on contributions from Federal, State, and local governments. The city's strategy is intended to prevent youth crime, intervene in the lives of young people who have had initial trouble with authorities, and take tough but fair action against those who commit violent crimes. Statistics indicate the strategy is effective. For example, the number of juvenile homicides declined by 80 percent citywide between 1990 and 1995, the juvenile violent crime arrest rate for aggravated assault and battery with a firearm decreased by 65 percent between 1993 and 1995, the number of violent crimes in one of Boston's toughest neighborhoods went down from 1,583 in 1991 to 1,224 in 1995, and violent crimes in public schools fell more than 20 percent between the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 school years. Enforcement-oriented violence prevention programs are described, including the Boston Police Youth Violence Strike Force, Operation Night Light, Operation Cease Fire, and the Boston Gun Project. Programs based on intervention and prevention are also reported, such as the Safe Neighborhood Initiative, the Child Witness to Violence Project, and many other programs based on community group collaboration. Prevention-based school and county programs are briefly noted.

Date Published: January 1, 1996