How a County with Over 100 Gangs is Reducing Their Crime Rates

palm-beach-county-logoPalm Beach County, an area in the Florida where about 80% of its of its violent crimes are committed by youth ages 15 to 24, is slowly but surely getting the hang of crime prevention. The County has been a concern since crimes having to do with firearms, along with the murder, were increasing between 2000 and 2005, even though their overall crime rate declined between 1900-2005.

Palm Beach’s Youth Violence Prevention Project took place in four different program sites and was aimed to improve its Prevention, Law Enforcement, Court, and Corrections components. For Prevention this included after school activities, job training, gang outreach, and teen councils in each target area.

Furthermore, their Law Enforcement segment strategies consisted of community-oriented police officers and ad campaigns that educated people on gun crime penalties. The Courts would attempt to stop the problem from the start using an extended Youth Court and Aggression Replacement Therapy, an alternative treatment program.

Lastly, the Corrections component was creating “Youth Empowerment Centers” and Justice Service Centers, which would both provide services including employment, substance abuse, mental health, legal assistance, re-entry assistance, life skills, and probation sanction assistance.TeenCouncilData

The program has shown to be effective. After collecting their first round of data, they found that teen council members who participated in a higher number of meetings scored in the 93.2 percentile in problem-solving skills versus a 78.4 percentile for a member who took part in a lower number of meetings. Additionally, the Justice Service Centers received 400 attendees at a job fair, 139 referrals for the program, and 46 follow-up appointments.

 

References:

An Evaluation of the Youth Violence Prevention Program in Palm Beach County. (2008, April). Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://criminology.fsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/Youth-Violence-Prevention-Project-Final-Report-2008.pdf
Palm Beach Youth Violence Prevention Project. (2007, June 19). Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://www.pbcgov.com/youthservices/YVVPMarch2007.pdf
Youth Violence Prevention Project. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://www.pbcgov.com/youthservices/yvpp.htm

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