Prevention of Youth Gang Violence: Overview of Strategies and Approaches
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There are many reasons why interventions on social issues should be evidence-based. In the case of crime, violence and youth gangs in particular, these interventions deal with at-risk groups of the population, and so should try to maximize the potential to achieve positive outcomes. Furthermore, given limited resources, all partners and stakeholders involved should ensure that programs implemented will be the most effective and cost-efficient possible. And finally, interventions should be based on evidence so as not to replicate what does not work. Available evidence suggests that well-designed and rigorously implemented prevention strategies can produce significant changes in youth gang and youth violence problems. Rigorous evaluations of youth gang programs are rare; nevertheless, available studies point to some programs, approaches and strategies that have shown promise in effectively reducing youth gang crime (National Crime Prevention Centre, 2007, 2011; OJJDP, 2010).
This document briefly describes some of the most evidence-based approaches to prevent youth gangs and serious youth violence which the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC) is interested in developing through the Youth Gang Prevention Fund (YGPF). It is designed to assist organizations interested in submitting a proposal to have access to some of the best available knowledge in Canada. The document is organized in three parts. Part I describes three key approaches, while Part II summarizes some of the key lessons learned through the first five years of the YGPF (2006-2011). Finally, Part III provides a list of Canadian and international resources in youth gang prevention.
Part I - Evidence-Based Preventive Approaches
The wraparound approach has been implemented in the United States and Canada throughout the 1990s, as well as more recently (Debicki, 2011). The wraparound process is an intensive, individualized care management approach designed for children, youth and individuals with serious or complex emotional and/or behavioural problems. A comprehensive continuum of individualized services and support networks are adapted to meet the unique needs of individuals (Walker, Koroloff & Schutte, 2003). This approach differs from traditional interventions in that it is less prescriptive and allows for flexibility in the design of the service delivery model.
The use of the wraparound approach with delinquent youth is a relatively new practice intended to keep young offenders at home and out of institutions whenever possible. It is designed to prevent fragmentation and "gaps" in the services often encountered by youth and their families. The approach also seeks to provide more extensive and proactive contact between the youth, his or her family, and other involved parties (e.g., court counsellor, social worker, etc.). The focus is on appropriately matching the youth's and family's needs to services (Carney & Buttell, 2003).
Although effective wraparound programs will differ from one area to another, the development and implementation of local interventions are guided by a common set of practices. Totten (2008) has identified the following six general principles that guide the wraparound approach:
- A collaborative, community-based interagency team (with professionals from youth justice, education, mental health and social services systems) designs, implements and oversees the project.
- A formal interagency agreement identifies the target population for the initiative: how they will be enrolled in the program; how services will be delivered and paid for; what roles different agencies and individuals will play; and what resources will be committed by various groups. This is commonly referred to as a system of care.
- Care coordinators are responsible for helping participants create a customized treatment program for guiding youth and their families through the system of care.
- Child and family teams (family members, paid service providers, and community members such as teachers and mentors), who know the youth and his/her complex needs, work in partnership to ensure that the young person's needs in all life domains are addressed with cultural competence.
- A youth-driven comprehensive plan of care, which is updated continually, identifies the young person's unique strengths and weaknesses across domains, targets specific goals and outlines action plans. This plan addresses the role of individual team members (young person and family included) in achieving the goals.
- All wraparound programs articulate specific performance measures to assess the outcome of interventions throughout the course of the initiative.
The wraparound planning process has four phases. Each phase comprises a number of individual activities that can be broken down into key sets of skills or steps. The four phases and their related activities are as follows (Debicki, 2009):
- Engagement Phase - family engagement, crisis stabilization, strengths and culture discovery, vision for a better life and mission for the team, identification of needs and related short- and/or long-term goals, team identification and formation;
- Team-Based Planning Phase - wraparound team preparation, wraparound team facilitation and planning, safety planning, plan documentation;
- Implementation Phase - nurturing the wraparound team, carrying out the plan, monitoring the plan, modifying the plan and the wraparound team as needed; and
- Transition Phase - ongoing planning, plan documentation, safety planning with informal or community supports, graduation from the wraparound process.
Evaluation and Lessons Learned
Several studies support wraparound's effectiveness in addressing youth offending:
- A randomized study of at-risk and juvenile justice-involved youth in Ohio demonstrated that youth who received wraparound services did not miss school un-excused, get expelled or suspended from school, run away from home, or get picked up by the police as frequently as youth who received conventional juvenile court services (Carney & Buttell, 2003).
- A matched comparison study of youth involved in juvenile justice and receiving mental health services in Clark County, Washington demonstrated significant improvement on standardized measures of behavioural and emotional problems, increases in behavioural and emotional strengths, as well as improved functioning at home, at school and in the community by youth participating in the wraparound program (Pullmann et al., 2006).
Evaluations suggest that a number of lessons have been learned in the development and implementation phases (Debicki, 2011; Kamradt, 2010):
- It is important to develop a comprehensive map of community assets. Understanding the strengths and needs of the community enables project staff to make quick and effective referrals and to identify partnerships that need to be developed.
- It is important to set realistic expectations for the project. Clear goals, objectives and benchmarks for each interaction of the project should be established. This is especially true for staff-to-client ratios, which need to be kept low in projects serving target populations that require substantial engagement time.
- It is important to "practice" wraparound and also to ensure that service providers understand what this entails. Project staff should be careful not to get stuck merely talking about doing wraparound - especially when getting the wraparound team together and moving to team meetings. By participating in the actual process, youth, their parents and other team members will gain a clearer understanding of how the process works. At the same time, while service providers may understand the key principles of wraparound, having representatives participate on the wraparound team will ensure that they understand how these principles are put into practice.
- Getting access to services in a timely fashion requires relationship-building and persistence. Key to the success of a wraparound initiative is the development of a strong, effective working system partnership. It is sometimes very challenging to get service providers to step up and provide service in a timely fashion, and organize as a group to develop and follow a coordinated plan. It seems most effective for the project staff to intensify relationship-building work with specific service providers and make sure they are regularly invited to be a part of the wraparound process.
Canadian Wraparound Experiences
Experience in implementing the wraparound approach in Canada has demonstrated the need for the model to be adapted to the way services are funded and delivered in this country. It is within this context that Wrap Canada, a new national association, was formed in 2008 (Debicki, 2011).
An important addition to the Canadian wraparound model was the enhancement of the system partnership necessary to implement the wraparound process effectively in a Canadian context. The key elements of this approach are (Debicki, 2009, 2011):
- The community and the system partnership must work together towards a common goal with each child, youth or adult and their family.
- Facilitators of the process require good clinical teaching or coaching so that they are implementing the model faithfully and effectively.
- Children, youth, and adults and their families must be connected to community groups to help them re-establish positive social networks so they can rebuild a supportive safety net.
- Individuals who implement this planning process must view their role as both a facilitator and educator; they should use every opportunity to educate participants about why and how they can do their own wraparound planning.
Some youth gang projects funded by NCPC's Youth Gang Prevention Fund (YGPF) represent wraparound models in one form or another. Specific examples are presented below. Although caution must be used in interpreting the results, evaluations do reveal that these projects have shown promise in changing youths' attitudes towards gangs, violence and guns, producing improvements in school and labour force attachment, and decreasing anti-social behaviours, negative contacts with the police and overall gang activity.
Wraparound Surrey: A Youth-Driven Comprehensive Plan for Gang Violence Prevention
(Surrey Board of Education School District #36, British Columbia)
In response to increased gang activity and youth crime, the City of Surrey developed anti-gang/crime prevention strategies targeting at-risk youth and their families. In 2009, the Surrey School District implemented a wraparound project for youth at risk of gang involvement. A partnership between Surrey School District #36 and the RCMP, Wraparound Surrey targeted students in the school board aged 11 to 17 who were currently involved in gangs or were at risk of involvement to provide them with pro-social alternatives.
Wraparound Surrey was an adaptation of the general wraparound approach and was specifically based on the Wraparound Milwaukee model. The steps involved in 'wrapping' a youth through the Surrey program were as follows: referral to the program; risk assessment; needs assessment; case planning; identifying appropriate activities; outreach; case management and monitoring; and exit assessment.
The program targeted two distinct groups of youth. The first was 'traditional' at-risk youth with risk factors such as poverty, substance abuse and unstable home situations. The second was youth not traditionally considered at risk who were predominantly South Asian, only/oldest males of middle-class families whose parent(s) worked long hours, often in a family business. Wraparound Surrey established partnerships with other community organizations to help their participants access recreational services and supports as outlined in their care plans.
The project was evaluated between January 2009 and March 2011. The evaluation employed a quasi-experimental research design using multiple lines of evidence. A matched comparison group design with pre-post measurement was used to assess the net impact of the program on participants' criminal activity. The intervention group consisted of 45 participants and the comparison group, made up of those waitlisted for the program, comprised 20 youth for whom police data was available. Site visits and key informant interviews were conducted; these offered a source of rich, contextual qualitative information. The evaluation results were triangulated to ensure they would be comprehensive and represent a reliable interpretation of the statistics. It should be noted that the results of the net impact and descriptive analysis of the outcomes are based on incomplete data (single time point for some outcome measures). Caution should be used in generalizing the results.
The project was successful in reaching its target population of moderate- to high-risk youth. Risk assessment results indicated that, overall, participants in the program were youth at risk of gang involvement or criminal activity. As of May 2011, Wraparound Surrey was reaching an average of 60 youth annually; 30 youth were active participants at any given time. Based on observations from the Surrey program staff, it could take up to 12 months for a young person to graduate. Staff reported that the most significant progress was made after about six months of participation, at which point the young person would 'plateau'.
The evaluation showed that there was a 67% decrease in negative police contacts among Surrey program participants. The interview data showed that the Wraparound Surrey team successfully stopped gang formation in at least one school setting. Notably, the Surrey project demonstrated clear impacts on gang-related activity among its participants.
Youth Advocate Program (YAP)
(Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia)
In response to increasing rates of youth crime linked to gang activity, the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) implemented the Youth Advocate Program (YAP) in 2008. Based on police and stakeholder information, the YAP was piloted in six high-risk neighbourhoods within the HRM that had active gangs or evidence of gang-related violence. The project targeted youth aged 9 to 14 who were at high risk of gang involvement and criminal behaviour, with the goal of reducing involvement with gangs.
The YAP was an adaptation of the wraparound approach. The intervention consisted of developing individualized action plans that aimed to connect disadvantaged youth and their families with a range of supports and resources that could comprehensively address multiple needs. The staff-to-participant ratio was low at 1:5; the skills and abilities of Youth Advocate Workers were crucial to successful and effective outcomes with this high-risk population.
The program had three objectives: (1) to reduce isolation, stresses, and negative thoughts among youth at risk of gang activity and their families; (2) to increase the protective factors of self-reliance, resilience, pro-social and life skills; and (3) to increase knowledge related to the YAP so that families and high-crime communities could proactively address the problem of youth at risk of joining gangs.
The participants' risk factors were determined using the Youth Advocate Program Screening Tool (YAPST), the primary quantitative data-gathering tool used for the evaluation. The YAPST assessed three key domains among participants: resilience/coping; risk exposure and associated factors; and services accessed and satisfaction with them. The participant risk factors included a lack of age-appropriate relationships with peers, a higher likelihood of manifesting anger and impulsiveness through problematic conduct, significantly higher levels of delinquent behaviour and substance use, significantly more normative attitudes towards displays of aggression, and more knowledge of local gangs. Of the 57 youth accepted into the program over its duration, most were referred by police or schools.
The project was evaluated between June 2008 and March 2011. The evaluation employed a mixed-methods approach and combined both quantitative and qualitative methods. It included repeated questionnaire administration, qualitative interviews (youth participants, staff, and community and program stakeholders), file reviews and observation of activities. To increase the external validity of findings, a matched community comparison group of youth (a non-random sample of 99 youth from the same community in which the YAP operates) was included in the pretest-posttest evaluation design.
The evaluation confirmed the project was successful in reaching youth with complex needs who are at risk of joining gangs. Participants' positive attitudes towards guns and violence greatly diminished when they graduated from the program compared to when they began it. Graduates also showed an increase in school attachment and positive role models, and a reduction in anti-social behaviour.
The YAP showed positive impacts on the risk factors displayed by participants, as well as on their families, enabling them to better advocate for and access services within their communities.
The Youth Alliance Against Gang Violence (YAAGV)
(Prince Albert Outreach Program Inc., Saskatchewan)
Developed in 2007 in response to the high number of street youth and gang-involved youth in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, the Youth Alliance against Gang Violence (YAAGV) program, also known as the Warrior Spirit Walking program, offered support to Aboriginal youth aged 12 to 21 who were gang-involved or at high risk of involvement. It aimed to help youth safely leave gangs or resist gang activity.
YAAGV employed a traditional indigenous model of youth development known as the Circle of Courage. Based on the four parts of the medicine wheel, the approach draws from indigenous philosophies on child rearing and education as well as resilience research. The program also incorporated elements of the Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) and wraparound approach models modified to better suit the needs of gang-involved Aboriginal youth and those at high risk of gang involvement.
YAAGV included six components: (1) Counselling, providing individual crisis, employment, substance abuse, female assistance group and community school-based counselling services to youth. Socio-recreational and group activities were also offered to address peer pressure, conflict resolution and gang-resistance issues; (2) Presentation Team, aimed at encouraging the development of employment and life skills in selected youth participants so they could make presentations to other young people about the dangers of youth violence, bullying and gang involvement; (3) Senior and Junior Won Ska Cultural Schools, an alternative school program to help high-risk Aboriginal youth complete high school, earn elementary and high school credits, increase literacy skills, increase life skills and participate in employment training; (4) Youth Activity Centre, providing youth with a safe environment for recreational, artistic, musical and cultural activities; (5) Van Outreach, using a van to make contact with high-risk youth on the streets, providing needle exchange services as well as healthy meals and drinks, condom and bad date list distribution, counselling, information and referrals for more intensive services; and (6) Court Outreach, providing legal, counselling, information, and referral services to youth and their families.
The project was evaluated between November 2007 and March 2011. A total of 147 YAAGV program youth participated in the evaluation. A variety of data collection and analytical techniques, including quantitative and qualitative methods, were employed (baseline and follow-up youth surveys, program participation tracking data, police and school records, in-depth interviews, field observations, client file reviews and focus groups). The evaluation used a matched comparison group pre, mid, post, follow-up design to measure change over time. The comparison group consisted of 48 gang-involved or high-risk youth selected from the group of PAOPI court outreach cases matched to the treatment group on key variables. Data was collected over 24 months on five occasions, at entry and every six months thereafter.
YAAGV succeeded in reaching current or recent gang members and youth at high risk of gang involvement, and appears to have influenced the risk factors and behaviours of youth participants. In areas such as depression levels and attitudes toward gangs, positive changes were observed, but these were sporadic and limited to specific follow-up periods. Similarly, a significant decrease (60%) in substance abuse was observed for a small number of participants. The evaluation also found some reduction in participants' involvement in both non-violent and violent crimes; however, findings were inconsistent. Most notably, consistent positive results were observed in increasing youth attachment to the labour force and prompting youth to leave gangs.
Violence Reduction Intervention
Research on crime and delinquency points to a host of individual, social and economic risk factors that contribute to youth criminal trajectories and joining gangs. High levels of aggressiveness and overt violent behaviour at adolescence are among the known risk factors for later gang membership. Preventing young people's violent behaviour and lifestyles while directing them towards activities and supports that promote pro-social or conventional behaviour will also lead to reducing gang activity (McClanahan, 2004).
Philadelphia Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP)
The Philadelphia Youth Violence Reduction Partnership is an intervention project involving members of street gangs in police precincts with the highest homicide rates among young people. Inspired by a successful initiative in Boston and modeled specifically for Philadelphia's circumstances, the project was implemented in the first precinct in 1999 and later extended to two additional precincts; essentially, the program aims to reduce violent crime - particularly homicide - committed by or against young people and to promote social reintegration.
The YVRP is a result of the close partnership between various public agencies (police, probation) and community organizations (street workers, religious organizations) who work with the client group. Street workers and police help probation officers supervise participants, resulting in almost daily contacts with seriously violent youth (the frontline staff aim to see participants and their families more than 25 times a month). Street workers mentor youth and broker in other services. This two-pronged approach intensifies interventions with young people and further discourages them from engaging in crime. Youth-serving organizations and criminal justice agencies collaborate to balance intensive supervision with comprehensive therapeutic support. YVRP provides youth with increased supervision and helps them access important resources (employment, mentoring, school bonding, counselling, health care and drug treatment). YVRP also seeks to stabilize the families of participants through such efforts as jobs for parents and assistance finding housing (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2004; McClanahan, 2004).
In Philadelphia, the YVRP consists of three components (OJJDP Strategic Planning Tool, 2011):
- The Operations Committee, composed of first-level agency supervisors, which seeks to ensure that program participants actually receive the contact, support and expedited punishment that the YVRP model promises;
- The Management Committee, composed of mid-level agency supervisors, which ensures that resources are available to frontline staff, principally through monthly meetings; and
- The Steering Committee, composed of senior-level executives from the participating agencies, which meets every six to eight weeks to establish general directions for YVRP and resolve differences among agencies.
While each project will need to adapt the approach to work within its particular administrative structures and local conditions, several elements of the YVRP model seem essential for success in planning, operating, maintaining and strengthening the initiative. They include (Jucovy & McClanahan, 2008):
- Partnership between public agencies and community organizations - underlying YVRP's success is the ability of a number of agencies and organizations to focus on their common goals, share resources and develop and implement a coherent strategy addressing youth violence.
- Champion who advocates for YVRP - this person makes the initial push for a YVRP-like initiative and gets buy-in from political officials and the leadership of key agencies.
- Willingness among agencies to make changes in the way they do business - to target those at greatest risk (and those who pose the greatest risk to others) for intensive interventions, agencies will need to alter some of their policies and procedures, and redirect some of their resources.
- Commitment to having the work take place in the community - for the program to work, partners must adopt an approach that brings probation officers and street workers into the neighbourhoods where young violent offenders live.
- Combination of strict supervision and consistent support - participants in YVRP have ongoing, frequent contact with their probation officer and their street worker, who supports them, and connects them to programs and activities that meet their needs. The intense supervision keeps youth accountable while YVRP works to make sure they fill their time with positive activities and receive necessary services.
- Commitment to using data for monitoring and decision-making - data is collected regularly to track performance and outcomes. The partners then measure the findings against benchmarks and make necessary adjustments. Beyond that, the initiative also uses data as the basis for other important decisions and to identify groups of young people who should be enrolled in the program.
- Communication and accountability at all levels - YVRP is a collaboration requiring a structure of communication and accountability that keeps everyone involved and committed. This structure includes regular communication within and between each level of the partnership.
Evaluation and Lessons Learned
The evaluation data show that the homicide rate attributable to street gangs decreased overall in the precincts where YVRP was implemented and that close surveillance made it possible to detect a large number of offences that were subsequently penalized. The frontline workers, who on average saw participants about nine times in their homes and five or six times elsewhere each month, were able to persuade a significant number of young people to attend assistance or rehabilitation programs (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2004; McClanahan, 2004).
Reaching through the Cracks draws upon lessons learned from seven years of experience in Philadelphia to describe how cities and other jurisdictions can plan and carry out an initiative like the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. YVRP is a promising approach for addressing the violence that plagues urban communities and destroys the vitality of neighbourhoods. We know it is not a completely new approach; it is simply a way for partnering agencies to do what they already set out to do, only better (Jucovy & McClanahan, 2008). In many localities, the pilot phase will face some obstacles; subsequent expansion is then difficult. But even with these challenges, YVRP has provided opportunities to adapt and change the way organizations and agencies collaborate while serving high-risk youth in the community.
Chicago CeaseFire is a violence prevention program that seeks to reduce homicides and shootings in specific communities with violence problems. It focuses on affecting risky activities by a small number of carefully selected members of the community - those with a high chance of either "being shot or being a shooter" in the immediate future (Ransford, Kane, Metzger, Quintana & Slutkin, 2010; Skogan, Harnett, Bump & DuBois, 2008).
The program is administered by the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CPVP), located at the University of Illinois' School of Public Health. CPVP was formed in 1995 and began fielding the CeaseFire program in 1999 in several of Chicago's highest crime neighbourhoods. By 2005, the program expanded to around 12 operational sites in Chicago (Skogan et al., 2008).
Unlike the enforcement-focused, deterrence-based CeaseFire strategies implemented in other US cities, Chicago's program applies what it describes as a public health approach to violence prevention. The program aims to communicate the social and personal costs of involvement in violence, and change individual and community norms and thinking about violence so that people reject it as an acceptable form of behaviour. It also provides on-the-spot decision alternatives for clients and gangs facing impending violence. Finally, the program aims to increase the perceived risks and costs of involvement in violence among high-risk (largely) young people (Papachristos, 2011; Ransford et al., 2010; Skogan et al., 2008).
Chicago CeaseFire takes a strategic approach to reducing violence. First, to influence community norms about the appropriateness of violence, the program provides mentoring via outreach workers to high-risk individuals, public education to promote the message of violence prevention, involvement of faith leaders to influence the thinking and behaviour of the community, involvement of law enforcement to share information and coordinate efforts, and community mobilization. Second, to provide immediate alternatives to violence at the time individuals are considering retaliation, Chicago CeaseFire uses "violence interrupters" to intervene. Finally, to heighten awareness of risks - incarceration, injury, or death - Chicago CeaseFire communicates a classic deterrence message (Skogan et al., 2008).
There are three key components of the Chicago CeaseFire program (Papachristos, 2011; Skogan et al., 2008):
- Outreach Workers work directly with gangs, gang members and troubled youth, providing direct services and mediating disputes before they become violent. They mentor and counsel youth, assess their needs and connect them with a broad range of services, including GED programs, anger-management counselling and drug or alcohol treatment, and help them find child care or a job, all of which have been shown to improve the lives of at-risk youth, including gang members.
- Violence Interrupters mediate gang/neighbourhood disputes. They work alone or in pairs, mediating conflicts between gangs and intervening to stem the retaliatory violence that threatens to break out following a shooting. They work the street at night, talking to gang leaders, distraught friends and relatives of recent shooting victims, and others who are in a position to initiate or sustain cycles of violence, with the goal of establishing a rapport with gang leaders and other at-risk youth.
- Community Mobilization is promoted through community-level activism and public education and includes activities such as media campaigns, rallies, protests, town hall meetings, etc. Local clergy and community groups participate in marches, rallies and prayer vigils focused on reinforcing the unacceptability of violence in the community. Educational materials designed to change norms about violence and enhance knowledge of the risks of engaging in violence are distributed.
A notable feature of the Chicago CeaseFire's staffing was their commitment to hiring culturally appropriate messengers. The program did not necessarily rely on professionally trained social workers, but on street-oriented individuals (in particular, ex-gang members and ex-offenders) who have local knowledge of the neighbourhood and gangs targeted for intervention. These individuals were carefully selected, trained and supervised, and had legitimacy with community members and could talk frankly with clients and gang members (Papachristos, 2011; Skogan et al., 2008).
Having former gang members serve as violence interrupters (interventionists) in gang interventions offers advantages while presenting challenges. The advantages have been noted above. The dangers may be less obvious, but they can disrupt outreach efforts. First, in establishing rapport with targeted gang members, interventionists often use their own prior gang status and exploits to establish their credibility, thereby glorifying the attitudes and activities they are supposed to be discouraging among their gang clients. Second, there is the "walking in my shoes" assumption that only former gang members can be gang interventionists; but there are effective gang workers who have had no prior membership. Third, former gang members in the outreach role can "turn off" agents from other programs, generating suspicion and antagonism that defeat collaborative efforts. Finally, there is a legitimate concern that turning ex-gang members or former gang leaders into activists for pro-social and anti-gang values places an unfair burden on them (Klein, 2011).
Evaluation and Lessons Learned
Sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, the Chicago CeaseFire project was evaluated by the Institute for Policy Research (2005-2008). The results of the evaluation were largely positive and the program has been established as an evidence-based intervention that reduces shooting and killings and makes communities safer. The Department of Justice report found the program "effective" with "significant" and "moderate to large impact," and with effects that are "immediate".
A summary of the evaluation results for eight sites indicated that the Chicago CeaseFire intervention is effective at (Skogan et al., 2008):
- Decreasing shootings and killings (41-73% drop in shootings and killings in CeaseFire zones; 16-35% drop in shootings directly attributable to CeaseFire).
- Decreasing retaliatory murders (100% reduction in retaliation murders in five of eight neighbourhoods).
- Making shooting "hot spots" cooler (in every program area there was a substantial decline in the median density of shootings following the introduction of CeaseFire).
- Effectively helping highest-risk youth (85-99% of high-risk clients needing help received help from CeaseFire; clients received help in getting jobs, education, drug treatment and more; 99% of clients reported that CeaseFire had a positive effect on their lives).
- Making neighbourhoods safer (a positive effect on neighbourhood safety was shown in every community studied).
In their evaluation, the researchers also detailed the program's approaches to building collaborations in the CeaseFire sites. The successes and pitfalls were many, as could be expected in a complex program that required law enforcement agencies, businesses, service providers, schools, community groups, political leaders and one of CeaseFire's most important partners, churches, to work together (Skogan et al., 2008).
Further, in making an informed decision to adopt a CeaseFire program, which is service intensive, localities should take stock of existing resources to ensure that offenders contacted by program staff have access to a broad array of services (e.g., social, educational and vocational) and, where available, evidence-based services and programs. Localities considering the adoption of such a program should acknowledge at the outset the importance of information sharing (Skogan et al., 2008).
Canadian Violence Reduction Intervention Experiences
A Canadian example of a project using a violence reduction intervention is described below. The Programme de suivi intensif de Montréal - gangs de rue (PSI-Mtl) is still in the implementation phase but has shown promise in the adaptation and implementation of the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP) model. The PSI-Mtl project is based on evidence from the Philadelphia YVRP (described above) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang (or "Spergel") Model.
The Spergel Model, developed in 1995, is a balanced, three-pronged approach that encompasses prevention, intervention and suppression activities. The model presumes that gangs become chronic and serious problems in communities where key organizations are inadequately integrated and sufficient resources are not available to target gang-involved youth. To address these problems, the Comprehensive Gang Model calls for community institutions - including law enforcement, social welfare agencies and grassroots organizations - to work together to achieve a more integrated, team-oriented approach (OJJDP, 2008).
Programme de suivi intensif de Montréal - Gangs de rue (PSI-Mtl)
(Centre jeunesse de Montréal - Institut universitaire, Québec)
To reduce lucrative crime and violence associated with street gangs and to increase social integration, and also because at-risk youth have become increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by gangs, the Programme de suivi intensif de Montréal - gangs de rue (PSI-Mtl) will be implemented from 2009 to 2014 by the Centre jeunesse de Montréal - Institut universitaire.
The program is intended to serve 80 young people a year, of which 60% are under the supervision of social services (youth centres) and 40% are referred by Quebec correctional services through the YouthCriminal Justice Act. The PSI-Mtl aims to reduce lucrative crime and violence associated with street gangs and also to promote social integration by increasing participation in pro-social activities. Once youth are selected, their risks and needs are assessed through a differential evaluation to identify any legal conditions they are subject to and ensure their unique combination of risk and protective factors is fully understood. Three intervention domains are combined to encourage youth to reduce violence and exit street gangs:
- Monitoring youths' commitment to the legal conditions they have been placed under (street time, prohibition from frequenting certain places).
- Individual action plans: Development of a focused, intensive action plan for participants and their families.
- Workshops: Holding weekly group workshops based on the cognitive-behavioural approach, which covers topics such as communication skills, alternatives to violence, conflict resolution, empathy and problem solving.
- Pro-social activities: Youth participate in activities related to education, employment, sport and leisure, as well as volunteer work.
- Dosage: Participants devote 20 to 40 hours a week to project-related activities.
Support and Reference:
- Referral of youth and their families to other services and partners according to their needs.
However, depending on local conditions, the planning process for a YVRP may be short or lengthy. From the experience in Philadelphia, it is clear that information sharing, more discretionary funding, smaller probation case management and more community-based work are all key features of reducing neighbourhood violence. Planning and carrying out an initiative like YVRP is challenging, but it can have a significant impact on youth crime.
Gang Reduction Intervention
Since gang violence is a complex issue, multi-faceted interventions involving multiple service agencies will sometimes be required. Gang reduction intervention is based on a three-pronged approach: stopping the violence and victimization; intervening with those on the edge; and preventing gang participation through the development of individual and community well-being strategies. In jurisdictions where gang and youth violence have been reduced, suppression, intervention and prevention are naturally linked (OJJDP, 2010).
Gang Reduction Program (GRP)
In 2003, the OJJDP launched the Gang Reduction Program (Cahill, 2011). The GRP was designed to reduce gang activity in targeted neighbourhoods in four cities (Los Angeles, Milwaukee, North Miami Beach, and Richmond, Virginia) by incorporating a broad spectrum of research-based interventions to address the range of personal, family and community factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency and gang activity.
The primary goal of the GRP is to reduce youth gang crime and violence in communities by applying proven practices in prevention, secondary prevention, gang intervention and gang suppression. Among its key objectives, the GRP includes assessing community needs and identifying resources, and building community capacity to deliver appropriate services based on identified risks of youth, families and community members, including gang members (Butts & Gouvis Roman, 2010). The GRP also adds an emphasis on recruitment of faith-based partners and private sector partners, and sustaining multi-agency collaboration and coordination of resources.
The strategies in the GRP framework include:
- Primary Prevention - strategies rely on the provision of one-stop service and resource centres for health and support services that are available to all families.
- Secondary Prevention - involves the identification of at-risk youth and the provision of more intensive supports and services to families already known to the social services sector.
- Intervention - focuses on aggressive outreach to gang-involved youth by a multi-disciplinary team that includes probation officers, law enforcement officials, schools, mental health agencies, child protective services and community organizations.
- Gang Suppression - includes targeted enforcement and prosecution to remove the most dangerous gang-involved youth from the community as well as graduated sanctions for less serious offenders.
- Re-Entry - targets serious offenders returning to the community after a period of confinement and provides appropriate services and mentoring. Of particular interest are displaced gang members who cause conflict by attempting to re-enter their former gang roles.
The framework also has several key practices (Cahill & Hayeslip, 2010; OJJDP, 2010):
- Identify needs at the individual, family and community levels, and address those needs through a coordinated and comprehensive response.
- Take inventory of human and financial resources in the community, and create plans to fill gaps and leverage existing resources to support effective gang-reduction strategies.
- Apply the best research-based programs across appropriate age ranges, risk categories and agency boundaries.
- Encourage coordination and integration in two directions: vertically (local, state and federal agencies) and horizontally (across communities and programs).
The framework was organized around the principle of collaboration and the coordination of resources across a variety of organizations to fill identified gaps in services at the local level (Butts & Gouvis Roman, 2010).
Evaluation and Lessons Learned
The Urban Institute conducted an independent evaluation of the GRP (2003-2008) (Cahill, 2011; Cahill & Hayeslip, 2010; Hayeslip & Cahill, 2009). The findings of the evaluation demonstrate that the program was implemented somewhat differently across cities. The results indicate the following: changes in violent incidents, drug use or vandalism were seen in some of the target areas; and a significant decrease over time for calls to police for shots fired as well as a decrease in gang-related crimes was observed in Los Angeles in particular.
Cahill (2011) noted that small changes and no changes in crime levels may have occurred as a result of the following: most of the time was spent defining the gang problem, building partnerships and on strategic planning; successes were observed in the process, not the outcomes. Future implementation should be in sites with demonstrated readiness, like Los Angeles.
Strong leadership of a site coordinator, close oversight by OJJDP during the strategic planning and implementation phases, and the availability of technical assistance contributed to implementation progress at the sites (Cahill & Hayeslip, 2010).
Canadian Gang Reduction Intervention Experiences
Specific Canadian examples of projects employing a comprehensive gang reduction intervention are discussed below. Although caution must be exercised in interpreting the results, evaluations reveal that these projects have shown promise in improving youths' attitudes, particularly toward aggression, retaliation, guns, drug use and gangs, as well as employment, and family bonding and communication. In the case of the Youth at Risk Development program, youth also made some positive changes in their relationships with peers and their ability to control their anger.
Regina Anti-Gang Services (RAGS)
(North Central Community Association, Saskatchewan)
Developed in 2007 in response to the high level of gang activity in the North Central neighbourhood of Regina, Regina Anti-Gang Services (RAGS) offered support to gang-involved youth in one of the most deprived, gang-filled and criminally active neighbourhoods in Canada. The program engaged gang-involved youth (primarily Aboriginal) and young adults aged 16 to 30, as well as their parents and other family members, with the aim of reducing involvement in gang life and facilitating gang exit.
RAGS participants took part in intensive daily services. Although these services were based on specific evidence-based models such as the wraparound approach and Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST), staff adapted these models to better suit the needs of Aboriginal youth. Focusing on the social context in which gang-related behaviours develop while at the same time focusing on individual change, interventions used the family as the primary area of work to build the youth's and family's strength. An intensive case management model was used to target problems that predict known risk and protective factors at both the individual and group levels. Programming was therefore high for participants: approximately 385 hours of programming over 77 weeks.
The program provided youth with four core activities: (1) Life skills programming, which included group training, education and skill-based learning on topics such as exiting gangs, violence, personal awareness, problem solving, healthy relationships, parenting, addictions, team building, empowerment, behaviour modifications and literacy for young men; (2) Circle Keeper program, which included gender-specific life skills and traditional cultural training for women who are in a gang or connected to one to support exit from the sex-trade and gangs through education; (3) Intensive gang exit counselling, which provided individual, crisis and family counselling sessions to youth, targeting specific goal areas such as safe exit from gangs, parenting, self-esteem, life skills development and others; and (4) Outreach to schools and institutions,which engaged potential RAGS participants through schools, correctional centres, courts and occasionally on the streets.
The project was evaluated between March 2008 and January 2011. In total, 99 clients (66 males and 33 females) participated in RAGS and within this group, 74 participants received intensive counselling and were involved in the evaluation. A mixed-methods approach was used, combining both quantitative and qualitative methods. While quantitative measures (baseline and follow-up surveys) were used to assess outcomes, qualitative methods such as field observations, client file reviews, focus groups and in-depth interviews were used to provide richer context to quantitative findings. The quantitative methodology employed a non-randomized control group design, with treatment and comparison group members matched on key variables. A pre, mid, post, follow-up design for both the treatment and comparison groups allowed measurement of change over time. The comparison group members (29 gang-involved, Aboriginal high-risk youth and adult offenders) were minimally involved in RAGS. The group received five or fewer hours of contact a month and they participated in recreational activities.
RAGS was successful in reaching gang-involved youth and their parents/family members, and in helping youth participants exit gangs. Overall, the program positively influenced participants' beliefs about conflict and appears to have improved attitudes toward aggression, retaliation and guns. The program significantly reduced participants' overall risk scores. However, the impact on employment, substance use and depression was less significant or inconclusive. Most notably, RAGS influenced key behavioural outcomes such as gang affiliation scores, non-violent crime and possibly violent crime.
Youth At Risk Development (YARD)
(Calgary Police Service, Alberta)
In response to growing concerns regarding gang violence in Calgary, the Calgary Police Service implemented the Youth at Risk Development (YARD) program in 2008 to provide prevention and intervention services to youth aged 10 to 17 who were gang-involved or at risk of involvement. The project aimed to empower youth to make positive choices and consider alternative solutions to the gang lifestyle.
While YARD was originally proposed as a wraparound approach, it evolved into a hybrid approach of case management with features of a wraparound model. YARD provided comprehensive and individualized services to young people through community-based professional and natural supports. Through partnerships with various community agencies, YARD also incorporated key features of the Gang Reduction Program by offering a range of prevention and intervention programming targeting youth gang members and youth at risk of gang involvement.
Youth were identified for YARD through an intake and assessment process. Eligibility was determined by a combination of referrals, staff professional judgment and the Youth Primary Identification Screening Tool. Based on an assessment of the youth and his/her situation, participants, their families and staff developed an individualized case plan that focused on strengthening protective factors and reducing risk factors. Case management went on throughout the youth's involvement with YARD, and included monitoring participant progress, and reassessing and modifying service delivery as necessary. YARD staff also provided direct interventions by serving as mentors, and offered direct support in their interactions with youth and parents. Teams of two police officers and two registered social workers (who were also youth probation officers) worked with youth to prevent them from becoming entrenched in the gang lifestyle. In addition, the program suggested referrals to meet each participant's needs. Referrals were made to a variety of community resources, including educational, training and employment programs, leadership programs, counselling services and recreational activities. The program also tried to involve participants' families by providing support through listening, offering referrals (including to family counselling or counselling for parents) and by assisting with necessities (food and clothing).
The project was evaluated between April 2008 and December 2010. A total of 82 participants were admitted to the YARD program. Of these, 71 participants completed baseline interviews and 39 completed follow-up interviews (conducted six months after the youth entered YARD). A pretest-posttest design (without comparison group) was used to examine the program's impact. Case studies were conducted with 14 youth to provide qualitative support for key findings. YARD program data (client files and YARD screening tool), police data and school data were also reviewed.
YARD was successful in reaching at-risk youth and gang-involved youth populations. The program appears to have positively impacted the lives of its youth participants. The program changed its focus mid-way through implementation to emphasize prevention, which meant a focus on admitting youth who were more at risk of gang involvement and less entrenched in the gang lifestyle. Youth gang involvement declined, as did positive attitudes toward gangs. Youth attitudes toward employment, family bonding and communication improved. Youth also made some positive changes in their relationship with peers, attitudes toward anti-social behaviours, drug use and their ability to control their anger. Given that the YARD's processes and delivery model has become more stable, the program is now better positioned to serve at-risk youth.
Part II - Lessons Learned from Gang Prevention and Intervention Programs in Canada
Between 2007 and 2011, 19 NCPC-funded gang prevention projects were implemented in Canada. Fourteen evaluations of these projects have provided valuable information that can be used to implement gang prevention programs more effectively in the future. Key lessons learned from these projects are important for community partners and stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of effective gang prevention programs. The lessons learned are based on a synthesis of 10 NCPC final evaluation studies about promising and effective models. The following section provides an overview of the lessons learned and solutions offered by gang prevention programs in a Canadian context.
Assessing Local Gang and Youth Violence Issues
It is not easy to adequately assess local gang and youth violence issues: there does not exist a unique, agreed definition of youth gangs, police and other relevant data may be difficult to access and interpret, and there may be issues related to the geographical scope of the analysis (e.g., neighbourhood, district, city). Nevertheless, failure to adequately assess the nature, characteristics and size of the issue may lead to not focusing on the right youth, not choosing the appropriate intervention and not hiring the proper level of resources.
In most of the projects, the estimated number of youth per year far exceeded the number of youth available for possible program participation. In many cases, the initial projections were unrealistic and did not reflect the real level of gang activity in the community. Other explanations for low numbers of participants include:
- Case management/wraparound programs have a low worker-to-youth ratio, so over a three-year period, overall program participation was not as high as expected;
- In some projects, youth did not exit the program within the time frame initially expected, making it difficult for new youth to join the program;
- Challenges associated with attracting youth to the program;
- Some organizations did not want to work with potentially violent youth; and
- Many of the projects required a longer implementation phase.
- Ensure that project staff and funding recipients provide evidence of the need for a gang prevention program in their community.
- Develop early cooperation with police organizations to facilitate access to data or alternatively to police experts who can provide a rigorous picture of the youth gang situation.
- Carefully analyze crime data to clearly define the cause of crime in a given community; programs that are successful are those that are tailored to the needs of each community.
- Ensure that all partners and staff have a common definition of the issue or problem to be addressed.
Selecting the Appropriate Youth Gang Prevention Programs
Not all interventions are similarly suited to respond to all youth gang or youth violence problems. Choosing the appropriate intervention will depend on the characteristics of the problems identified and the specific risk factors targeted, as well as other factors such as: the availability of local resources, the capacity to train people to deliver a given intervention, or the partnerships required to deliver the intervention.
Project evaluations found that, in some cases at least, the type of intervention delivered was not well suited to the needs of the target population.
- Identify the appropriate intervention, including the capacity to deliver an effective program.
- Assess the skills and resources required to deliver a specific intervention addressing youth gang violence issues.
Identifying, Attracting and Retaining Program Participants
Identifying and recruiting youth who are appropriate for gang prevention programs is essential. It was sometimes a challenge to make a distinction between programming for those at risk of committing crimes and those at risk of gang involvement. Using a risk assessment tool would help projects recruit the highest-risk youth, those who would be more likely to benefit from gang prevention. Our synthesis of the data indicates that the programs that attracted higher-risk youth showed greater reductions in key risk factors and behaviours, including gang involvement and non-violent offending.
Retention of the youth is another key challenge that has presented in many of the youth gang projects.
- All gang prevention projects should use a risk assessment tool to identify and evaluate participants. Protocols and guidance should be put in place to help projects standardize risk assessments among participants. The assessment tools should include key gang-related risk factors and contain measures to calculate measures of risk.
- A common definition of 'gang' should be adopted and incorporated into the risk assessment tool for the target population.
- Provide incentives to program participants.
Implementing the program with fidelity
The synthesis of 10 evaluation studies conducted at NCPC indicates that wraparound, Multisystemic Therapy (MST), case management and faith-based projects had about a 60% success rate in reducing behavioural-related outcomes. Such outcomes included a reduction in police contact, non-violent offending and gang involvement (Smith-Moncrieffe & Cugelman, 2011).
Overall, 60% of the projects implemented 'hybrid' models, making it challenging to identify a single effective model. In the majority of the projects, evaluators and project staff were working with promising gang prevention project models that did not have fidelity tools to map key elements that were to be implemented. An effective fidelity tool should have been in place to highlight the key program elements, offer a definition for each criterion and provide appropriate dosage for program activities.
- Projects should aim to use some program fidelity tools. The program fidelity tools should include information about proposed dosage and evidence-based elements that have shown some success with youth gang prevention projects in Canada.
Delivering the Appropriate Program Dosage
Since most interventions delivered under the YGPF were hybrid projects, it was difficult to pre-determine the duration of the intervention. In addition, participating youth had very different needs and realities making it even more difficult to establish upfront a time limit to the intervention.
- Ensure the program has a specific duration for all participants. Although wraparound models usually encourage youth to continue to remain in the program until key risk factors are addressed, it is important to determine the program dosage.
Establishing Relationships with Families
More often than not, parents of high-risk or gang-involved youth may themselves be part of the problem. They may present similar risk factors; are not present in the youth's life; or have limited support for 'child minding,' which compromises their ability to engage in prevention programs. In some of the programs, parents expressed concern about being potentially stigmatized.
Eleven gang prevention projects measured changes in family and community involvement. Of those 11 projects, around one-third (35%) showed a favourable change in at least one family and community involvement outcome. The other 65% of the projects showed no change in these outcomes after testing within-group changes (pre- and post-tests) and between-group differences (experimental versus comparison group). Qualitative findings suggest that projects had difficulty engaging parents.
- Provide 'child minding' services for parents during program delivery sessions.
- Use creative outreach activities that increase parent engagement. Refrain from using the term "gang" in the outreach materials and use more general terms - the program seeks to increase pro-social activity and reduce the likelihood of youth becoming involved in the justice system or in criminal activity.
- Use creative non-financial incentives to increase recruitment of parents.
Establishing Effective Partnerships within the Community
Collaboration between partners is essential to the implementation and success of most crime prevention programs. In terms of the limited engagement of partners, qualitative findings suggest that a key challenge lies in the relations between partners over time, despite prior agreements to be engaged in the program during the project development phase. Oftentimes, potential project funding recipients negotiated "soft" agreements for in-kind contributions in the pre-funding phase, but found less support during program implementation.
- To collaborate fully with partners, organizations must form alliances and adopt an approach that brings together various stakeholders based on shared goals and through the establishment of infrastructure that supports program elements.
- Program officers can consider contacting all relevant partners in the pre-funding phase to assess commitment levels. Complementary assessments, with the "traditional" letter of support from partners, will increase confidence in future commitments.
Obtaining Comprehensive Data on Participants
Getting access to data and the quality of data collected during a program's implementation can be a challenge during evaluation. Information on participants from police and school records are important data sources when evaluating crime prevention programs. Confirming the validity of police contact, offending, school suspensions and grades can increase the reliability of findings. In the majority of the evaluations, secondary data was not obtained. In some cases, clarifications between the police and the organization with regard to the youth participating in the program and information used by police services have been necessary.
- All relevant partners and stakeholders should work with municipal, territorial, provincial and federal administrations to foster better access by projects to useful data.
- Ensure the appropriate police and school representatives participate at evaluation and project advisory committees. These representatives should be willing to advocate for the sharing of information.
- Encourage police to provide an aggregate level "reoffending rate" to prevent any breach of privacy that can result when individual crime-related data is released.
To prevent and reduce gang involvement, available evidence indicates that the use of appropriate prevention efforts addressing the risk factors that increase the likelihood of youth joining gangs is among the most effective and cost-efficient means of reducing gangs and youth violence (OJJDP, 2010; Wyrick & Howell, 2004).
Prevention and intervention strategies must interrupt the main pathways to gang violence. Furthermore, prevention efforts that target an entire risk domain, such as family-focused prevention, have been identified as effective means of reducing a wide range of negative outcomes among high-risk youth, including the rising numbers of gangs.
Empirical evidence of effective youth gang prevention programs, particularly in the Canadian context, is growing and informing practice. Expanding the Canadian body of knowledge on youth gang prevention and a systematic gathering of data and information is needed to better assess the results and lessons learned from the gang prevention strategies.
Canadian communities are encouraged to take the approaches and lessons described in this document when considering implementing an effective youth gang or youth violence prevention program.
Part III - Resources on Gang Prevention and Intervention
Alberta Gang Reduction Strategy
Calgary's Gang Strategy - Get a Life
BC Crime Prevention Association
Government of Manitoba, Gang Prevention Public Awareness
Government of Nova Scotia, Gang Prevention
Crime Prevention Ottawa - Ottawa Youth Gang Prevention Initiative
Plan d'intervention québécois sur les gangs de rue 2007-2010, Gouvernement du Québec
Gang Strategy of Saskatoon
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA): www.bgca.org
Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA): www.ojp.gov/BJA
California Cities Gangs Prevention Network: http://hopematters.org/youth-development
Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence - Blueprints for Violence Prevention: http://www.colorado.edu/cspv/blueprints/
National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention: http://www.findyouthinfo.gov/topic_preventingViolence.shtml
National Gang Center (NGC): www.nationalgangcenter.gov
United States Department of Justice - Office of Justice Programs
Crime Solutions: http://www.crimesolutions.gov/TopicDetails.aspx?ID=13
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP): http://www.ojjdp.gov
Urban Institute: http://www.urban.org/toolkit/newreports.cfm/
National Crime Prevention Centre. (2007). Building the evidence - Youth gang series: What are the risk factors? What do we know? Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Available from http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/cp/ythgng/index-eng.aspx.
OJJDP. (2010). Best practices to address community gang problems: OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, OJJDP.
Smith-Moncrieffe, D. & Cugelman, B. (2011). YGPF Lessons Learned, National Crime Prevention Centre, Public Safety Canada.
Wyrick, P. A., & Howell, J. C. (2004). Strategic, risk-based response to youth gangs. Juvenile Justice, 9(1), 20-29.
Burchard, J., Burns, E., & Burchard, S. (2002). The wraparound process: Community-based treatment for youth. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Burns, E., Walker, J., Adams, J., Miles, P., Osher, T., Rast, J., & VanDenBerg, J. (2004). Ten principles of the wraparound process. Portland, OR: National Wraparound Initiative, Research and Training Centre on Family Support and Children's Mental Health, Portland State University.
Carney, M. M., & Buttell, F. (2003). Reducing juvenile recidivism: Evaluating the wraparound services model. Research on Social Work Practice, 13, 551-568.
Debicki, A. (2009). Wraparound in Canada. Available from http://www.wrapcanada.org/html/pdf/CanadaWrapOverviewMarch12,2009.pdf.
Debicki, A. (2011). Making Canadian communities safe: One chid and youth at a time. Good wraparound projects in Canada: A review of NCPC Projects. Unpublished Report. Ottawa, ON: National Crime Prevention Centre.
Kamradt, B. (2010, April). Lessons learned from Wraparound Milwaukee: Has it been worth it. Presentation at 2010 Children's Behavioral Health Conference. Norman, OK.
Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (2003). Wraparound Milwaukee: 2002 annual report. Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, Department of Health and Human Services.
Pullmann, M. A., Kerbs, J., Koroloff, N., Veach-White, E., Gaylor, R., & Sieler, D. D. (2006). Juvenile offenders with mental health needs: Reducing recidivism using wraparound. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 375-397.
Totten, M. (2008). Promising practices for addressing youth involvement in gangs. Research report prepared in support of the Strategy, Preventing Youth Gang Violence in BC: A Comprehensive and Coordinated Provincial Action Plan. Available from http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/crimeprevention/publications/docs/totten-report.pdf.
Walker, J. S., Koroloff, N., & Schutte, K. (2003). Implementing high-quality collaborative individualized service/support planning: Necessary conditions. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health, Portland State University.
For more information on the wraparound approach, refer to the Resource Guide to Wraparound available on the National Wraparound Initiative website (http://www.nwi.pdx.edu/NWI-book/index.shtml).
Violence Reduction Intervention:
Bonner, H. S., McLean, S. J., & Worden, R. E. (2008). CeaseFire-Chicago: A synopsis. Albany, NY: The John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety, Inc.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. (2004). Caught in the crossfire: Arresting gang violence by investing in kids. Washington, DC.
Jucovy, L., & McClanahan, W. S. (2008). Reaching through the cracks. A guide to implementing the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures.
Klein, M. W. (2011). Comprehensive gang and violence reduction programs: Reinventing the square wheel. Criminology & Public Policy, 10(4), 1037-1044.
McClanahan, W. (2004). Alive at 25: Reducing youth violence through monitoring and support. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures.
OJJDP. (2008). Best practices to address community gang problems: OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, OJJDP.
OJJDP Strategic Planning Tool. (2011). Philadelphia Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. National Gang Center website. Available from http://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/SPT/Programs/126.
Papachristos, A. V. (2011). Too big to fail: The science and politics of violence prevention. Criminology & Public Policy, 10(4), 1053-1061.
Ransford, C., Kane, C., Metzger, T., Quintana, E., & Slutkin, G. (2010). An examination of the role of CeaseFire, the Chicago Police, Project Safe Neighbourhoods, and displacement in the reduction in homicide in Chicago in 2004. In R. J. Chaskin (Ed.), Youth gangs and community intervention: Research, practice, and evidence (pp. 76-108). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Skogan, W. G., Harnett, S. M., Bump, N., DuBois, J. (2008). Evaluation of CeaseFire-Chicago. Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. For more information on the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership, refer to the Crime Reduction and Re-entry resources available on the Public/Private Ventures website (http://www.ppv.org/ppv/initiative.asp?section_id=25&initiative_id=17).
For more information on the Chicago CeaseFire initiative, refer to the CeaseFire Evaluation Report available on the Institute for Policy Research website (http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/publications/ceasefire.html).
Gang Reduction Intervention:
Butts, J. A., & Gouvis Roman, C. (2010). A community youth development approach to gang control programs. In R. J. Chaskin (Ed.), Youth gangs and community interventions: Research, practice, and evidence (pp. 175-205). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Cahill, M. (2011, June). Lessons learned from the OJJDP Gang Reduction Program (GRP). Presentation at 2011 National Gang Symposium. Orlando, FL.
Cahill, M., & Hayeslip, D. (2010). Findings from an evaluation of OJJDP's Gang Reduction Program. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, OJJDP.
Cahill, M., et al. (2008). Community collaboratives addressing youth gangs: Interim findings from the Gang Reduction Program. Technical Report. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Hayeslip, D., & Cahill, M. (2009). Community collaboratives addressing youth gangs: Final evaluation findings from the Gang Reduction Program. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
For more information on the Gang Reduction Program, refer to the Best Practices to Address Community Gang Problems, available on the OJJDP website (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/231200.pdf).
 Boston Gun Project and Operation Ceasefire - developed in the mid-1990s as a problem-oriented policing intervention expressly aimed at reducing youth homicide and youth firearms violence in Boston, Massachusetts.