OJJDP awarded more than $34 million from fiscal years 2019 to 2021 to support a range of programs and activities designed to reduce violence by youth and their recruitment by gangs. Office funding currently supports 63 antigang program sites, including prevention, intervention, and suppression programs that support community efforts to deter gang activity. Many offer targeted services, such as trainings on life skills, counseling to address substance use disorders, mentoring, and street outreach programs that offer alternative support mechanisms. Examples include:
- OJJDP’s Strategies To Support Children Exposed to Violence program, which enables communities to develop and offer support services for youth exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities—including those victimized by gang violence. The program ensures young people have adequate supports in their communities to reduce trauma and help them feel safe.
- OJJDP’s National Gang Center, which empowers communities by offering an array of resources to help develop comprehensive solutions to prevent gang violence, reduce youth involvement in gangs, and suppress gang-related crime. The center’s website includes links to the new Voices From the Field podcast series, featuring conversations with experts in community violence intervention strategies, and to a webinar series on community violence intervention.
Gang prevention and intervention efforts must be community based and accessible to meet youth where they are, as they are. With access to resources and guidance, young people are more likely to make healthy choices and grow into secure, stable adults.
—OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan
OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model offers a framework for coordinated action within communities—between law enforcement and citizens—to prevent youth from joining gangs and reduce gang violence and crime. It emphasizes five core strategies:
- Mobilizing the community—Involving local residents, from community groups and agencies to former gang members.
- Providing opportunities—Offering services specifically designed for gang-involved youth, from education and job training to reentry programs.
- Social intervention—Youth-serving agencies, street outreach workers, law enforcement agencies, schools, and others acting as links between gang-involved youth and the services they need, their families, and the world beyond.
- Suppression—Social controls and accountability measures (including supervision and monitoring) by criminal justice agencies, working in collaboration with community-based service providers, schools, and others.
- Organizational change and development—Developing and implementing policies and procedures that promote effective use of resources to address issues related to gangs and gang violence.
Communities use OJJDP's Strategic Planning Tool to assess issues with gangs and develop strategies for addressing them. The electronic tool consists of four interrelated components and provides a wide range of information about gang behavior, intervention strategies, best practices, and research-based programs.