Read about best practices and promising strategies in gang violence prevention on the local, state, and federal levels. Adobe Reader is required. Are there best practices that you have found helpful and would like to share with the rest of the Network? Let us know. We can add it to our list.
Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Training and Technical Assistance Center
This webpage provides updated information and new tools to help criminal justice professionals promote public safety and enhance the nation’s state, local, and tribal justice systems.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Promising and Proven Programs on Youth Violence
This webpage includes reports designed to identify effective strategies to reduce youth violence, instructions to implement various violent reduction efforts among youth, and a list of programs that have been effective at doing so.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention
Best Practices of Youth Violence Prevention: A Sourcebook for Community Action, 2002
This sourcebook explains the process of program planning, implementation, and evaluation in layman’s terms. It focuses on four strategic approaches to preventing youth violence: parent and family-based, home visiting, social cognitive, and mentoring. All of the strategies referred to have proven to be effective at reducing youth violence. Factsheets that summarize the prevalence of violence among youth in America are also included.
University of Colorado
Center for the Study of Prevention and Violence
Blueprints for Violence Prevention
Blueprints for Violence Prevention is an initiative that identifies effective youth violence prevention strategies. An overview of the initiative, as well as promising and model youth prevention approaches are identified can be located here. These approaches have been selected because they met very high standards and underwent rigorous testing for effectiveness. Model program approaches and their descriptions can be found here. Promising program approaches and their descriptions can be located here.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
NREPP is an online registry that currently lists more than 210 interventions for mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Through this registry, the public is connected with intervention developers in order to develop and implement approaches to the above-mentioned issues in their communities. Click here to see the registry.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention Programs
OJJDP, Model Programs Guide
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide (MPG) consists of more than 200 evidence-based prevention and intervention models that are designed to promote change in the lives of youth and their communities. These models can be used to promote public safety, increase accountability for programs, and reduce recidivism. The MPG deals with a range of topics including substance abuse, mental health, and educational programs. To access the OJJD's MPG click here.
Center for Problem-Oriented Policing
Problem-oriented policing (POP) is a tactic used to analyze the cause of certain crimes and look for preventative solutions. The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing is a nonprofit organization that makes information accessible for law enforcement to better address certain crimes with the help of community members and organizations. The website consists of several guides that offer detailed explanations of how certain crimes can be approached using problem-oriented policing, and these guides are offered in other languages. In addition, there is a Learning Center that explains the concept of POP in detail, allows the user to create mock interventions for real issues, provides instructions for conducting a crime analysis, and offers other techniques that can be used to initiate a POP approach. Click here to visit the POP website.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice ProgramsU.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention Programs
Juvenile Justice Bulletin, December 2010
Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs
This bulletin provides research-backed information that explains why youth join gangs and how communities form gang prevention and intervention services.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention Programs
National Gang Center
The National Gang Center provides guides for assessing and implementing youth gang prevention and intervention strategies. Click here to access The National Gang Center's publications.
The Justice Policy Institute
Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies
This report was designed to clarify some of the misconceptions about gangs and to evaluate the approaches that have been used to prevent gang involvement among the youth.
EXAMPLES OF MODEL PROGRAMS
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA)
BBBSA was founded in 1902, and its primary function is to match at-risk youth between the ages of 6 and 18 with adults who volunteer to provide mentorship. A study that was conducted to measure the impact of BBBSA on the lives of the youth it serves found that participating youth experienced positive outcomes on many different levels. For example, it was found that children who participated in BBBSA were less likely to be involved in drug and alcohol use, less likely to hit another person, did better academically, had better relationships with their parents or guardians, and were more likely to have positive relationships with their peers than youth who did not participate in the program. A fact sheet detailing these findings can be found here.
Detailed explanations for how to donate to BBBSA, how to enroll a child, how to become a volunteer, and program descriptions can be found here.
Montreal Preventive Treatment Program (MPTP)
The MPTP is a secondary prevention program designed to prevent antisocial behavior among low-income boys between the ages of 7 and 9, who displayed behavioral issues in kindergarten. However, evaluation found that not only did the boys who participated in the program have better behavioral and academic outcomes, they were also less likely to be involved in gangs. To learn more, click here.
Model Truancy Prevention Programs
It has been found through the evaluation of programs that target at-risk youth, and by research conducted by the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children, that the following components are crucial for a program to have a positive impact: parent/guardian involvement, a continuum of services, collaboration with community resources, school support and commitment to maintaining youth in the educational mainstream, and ongoing evaluations. However, very few truancy prevention programs meet this criteria. Click here for a list of truancy prevention programs that have been found to be model programs.
EXAMPLES OF PROMISING PROGRAMS
The Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (GREAT)
GREAT is a school-based, primary prevention program that targets middle school students who may or may not be at risk for gang involvement. Law enforcement is responsible for communicating to the students the dangers of becoming involved in gangs, teaching the children how to opt out of gangs, and how to appropriately settle conflicts. To read the evaluation of th GREAT program click here.
Aggression Replacement Training (ART)
ART is a secondary prevention program designed to prevent aggressive and violent behavior in youth between the ages of 12 and 17. There are three components of the program that concentrate on training to develop social, anger management, and moral reasoning skills. ART is a 10-week program, and the youth are required to attend three one-hour sessions per week. This program showed positive results for gang-involved youth in Brooklyn. Click here to learn more.
CeaseFire – Chicago
CeaseFire is a program that takes a public health approach to communicate that gun and gang violence will not be tolerated at a community level through a three-prong approach: 1) identification and detection; 2) interruption, intervention, and risk reduction and 3) changing behavior and norms. An evaluation found that the CeaseFire program was responsible for a 34% reduction in shootings in Englewood, a community nine miles outside of the Loop of Chicago. To learn more click here.
EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACHES THAT HAVE BEEN UTILIZED BY MODEL PROGRAMS
Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
FFT is an approach designed to provide prevention/intervention services for youth who have behavior issues and also to the family units as a whole. Youth between the ages of 11 and 18 who are at risk for or involved in delinquency, violence, substance use, and other behavior disorders are the target population for this program. Clinical trials have found that FFT is a cost-effective program that can help prevent the utilization of more expensive services and outcomes among the families involved. In addition, it was found that adolescents who have been treated with this approach are less likely to get involved with the adult criminal justice system and that the younger children in the family are less likely to be involved in the foster care system. This approach has been endorsed by the United States Surgeon General for treating violent or seriously delinquent youth. To learn more, click here.
Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
MST is an approach designed to address the multiple determinant of serious antisocial behavior in juvenile offenders. The multisystemic approach acknowledges the various network systems that the youth are connected to in order to administer a well-rounded intervention, which may encompass the family unit, peers, schools, and other factors. The target population for this approach is chronic, violent, or substance abusing youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who are at high risk for out-of-home placement. Evaluations have concluded that youth who participated in MST had reductions in rates of recidivism and out-of home placements, significant improvements in family functioning, and decreased mental health problems in comparison to untreated youth. This approach has been endorsed by the United States Surgeon General for treating violent or seriously delinquent youth. To learn more, click here.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC)
MTFC is a treatment approach that targets teenagers with severe criminal behavior who are at risk for incarceration and teenagers with severe mental health problems who are at risk for psychiatric hospitalization. Community families are recruited, trained, and closely supervised to provide MTFC-placed youth with treatment and intensive supervision in the home, school, and community. The foster parent is required to attend weekly meetings, and daily phone calls are placed by MTFC staff to monitor the behavior of the adolescent. In addition, the biological or adoptive family also receives in-home trainings to better deal with the child’s behavioral challenges with the ultimate goal of the child being returned home. Youth who were treated with MTFC were found to spend fewer days incarcerated, were less likely to run away from placement, and did better academically than youth who were untreated. This approach has been endorsed by the United States Surgeon General for treating violent or seriously delinquent youth. Click here to learn more.
EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACHES THAT HAVE BEEN UTILIZED BY PROMISING PROGRAMS
The Good Behavior Game (GBG)
GBG is a classroom management tactic designed to reduce aggressive and inappropriate classroom behavior. The target population is early elementary students. Before implementing this approach, teachers identify classroom behaviors that are inappropriate and set certain rules and guidelines for the classroom. Students are placed in groups that receive incentives to not engage in aggressive or inappropriate classroom behavior. The intention of this strategy is to provide the students with the skills they need to respond to issues that come up for them later in life in an assertive manner. Students who participated in GBG were less likely to demonstrate aggressive behavior according to their teachers. To learn more about the GBG game, click here.
The Behavioral Monitoring and Reinforcement Program (BMRP)
BMRP, formerly known as Preventive Intervention, is a school-based intervention designed to prevent delinquency, substance use, and academic failure for high-risk adolescents. This intervention focuses on juvenile distrust with society and increasing their abilities to cope with their problems effectively. BMRP promotes an environment that allows youth to become empowered with the knowledge that their actions can bring about positive/desired outcomes. Teachers, parents, and individuals are recruited to participate. Upon the conclusion of the program, students who participated were found to do better academically and self-reported less drug use and delinquency than the control group. In addition, a five-year follow-up study reported that the students who were participants of the program had fewer county court records than students who did not participate in the program. Click here to learn more.
Preventive Treatment Program (PTP)
PTP was designed to prevent antisocial behavior by boys who have displayed behavior problems at an early age. It was found to also be successful in preventing gang involvement. This program provides training to both the parents and the youth, which is intended to decrease delinquency, substance use, and gang involvement. Boys who participated in this program reported they were less likely to commit delinquent acts, be involved in gang activity or have friends who were arrested, be held back in school or placed in special education classes, and be involved in a fight in comparison to the untreated group of boys. To learn more click here.
Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP)
SSDP is a multidimensional approach designed to decrease problem behavior and delinquency among youth. Parents, teachers, and children work together to promote social control and strengthen the children’s accountability and commitment at school. Social learning theories are the framework for this project. It has been found that students who participated in this project did better academically, were more committed to school and less likely to display aggressive behaviors, and had less involvement in sexual activity and delinquency than students who did not participate. Click here to learn more.
Communities That Care (CTC)
CTC is a community network system that utilizes a public health approach to reduce youth violence, delinquency, school drop-out, and substance abuse rates. Community stakeholders are selected and trained to form a coalition and become board members who determine the most pressing issues affecting the youth in their communities and strategize the best ways to address these issues. A seven-state clinical trial that involved 24 communities found that these communities experienced reductions in youth tobacco, drug, and alcohol usage, and delinquent behavior. Click here to learn more.
Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI)
Due to the high level of youth homicides and violence, the City of Boston collaborated with Harvard University to analyze the problem and develop effective youth violence prevention and intervention methods. As a result, Operation Ceasefire was developed, which was accredited to the reduction of youth violence in Boston. The Department of Justice launched the Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative to see if the strategies used for Operation Ceasefire would be effective in 10 other cities across the United States. It was found that when these strategies were strongly implemented, there was as much as a 50% reduction in violent crimes. To read the report, click here.