Every day, crime shatters the peace in our Nation's neighborhoods. Violent crime and the fear it engenders cripple our society, threaten personal freedom, and fray the ties that are essential for healthy communities. No corner of America is safe from increasing levels of criminal violence, including violence committed by and against juveniles. Parents are afraid to let their children walk to school alone. Children hesitate to play in neighborhood playgrounds. The elderly lock themselves in their homes, and innocent Americans of all ages find their lives changed by the fear of crime.

The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's National Juvenile Justice Action Plan (Action Plan) presents innovative and effective strategies designed to reduce violence and victimization. Through these efforts, communities and citizens are working to bring about positive change. They are establishing neighborhood watches and citizen patrols and working with law enforcement and other agencies to close down drug houses. They are cleaning up playgrounds and parks and creating drug- and weapon-free school zones. They are forming community planning teams to identify risk factors for delinquency, assess resources and needs, and provide programs designed to prevent juvenile involvement in delinquency and crime. They are creating opportunities for youth to take part in community-building activities. In concert with community oriented policing and strict accountability for offenders, these local prevention efforts are our Nation's most effective long-term weapons against crime and violence.

Although the public is deeply concerned about juvenile violence and victimization, many Americans do not know how they can help. Because the effects of juvenile violence are felt by entire communities, the search for solutions must be a communitywide effort, and every citizen needs to be involved.

The Action Plan describes how communities can generate solutions and how individuals and groups can prevent or reduce violence in their own block, public housing unit, or neighborhood. Cooperative partnerships among justice, health, child welfare, education, and social service systems can lay the foundation for measurable successes. Working together, individuals, groups, and communities can make real and sustained changes. The Action Plan also provides important information about Federal training, technical assistance, grants, research, evaluation, and other resources that support these efforts.

The Coordinating Council recognizes that much work needs to be done. However, by continuing to build partnerships throughout our government and communities, we can promote early intervention and prevention of youth violence. The solutions are within reach. The power to change America is within ourselves. Together, we can redeem the promise that every young life holds.

Attorney General Janet Reno
Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice
    and Delinquency Prevention

Contents | Foreword | Acknowledgments | Introduction | Summary
Figures | Objectives | Conclusion | Appendixes