Youth Firearms Violence Initiative
In 1995, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services launched the Youth Firearms Violence Initiative in an attempt to combat increased firearm use among the young people (Braga, A. A., United States., & Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, 2010). The initiative focused on implementing community-based policies that would counter and reduce the increased firearm use among the youth. Enforcement strategies were based on crime data collected locally that enabled the police department to identify specific areas that were vulnerable to teen gun violence. Nowadays, unlike their predecessors, gang members have access to high-powered firearms and usually have a solid basis within institutions of learning and the community. An effective response is to address the institutional and community actions that affect the values of the young people, leading them to indulge in violent firearms activities. In this context and after assessing various police department strategies and tactics in the Youth Firearms Violence Initiative, the most viable and feasible gun control approach is the Baltimore plan.
Baltimore Youth Firearms Suppression
Community-based activities focus on wider federal efforts to respond to crime in a way that integrates law-enforcements into society problem-solving framework. The program has three specific goals. Firstly, the street-based activities involved the implementation of surveillance and intelligence gathering through juvenile violent crime flex team for targeted enforcement, as the curfew enforcement groups directed their focus on chronically truant students (Hess & Wright, 2012). Secondly, through the school-based initiative, Baltimore deployed a small number of officers to middle and high schools on a more or less dedicated basis. The officers were expected to educate the students about the risk associated with firearm possession and usage. It also supported a criminal justice system for juvenile high school students where they received counseling and advised as required. Further, Baltimore extended the activities through community resource centers where curfew enforcement officers for violations and truancy provided students and their families with shelter, information, and support.
Effectiveness of the Program for Reducing Juvenile Weapon Crimes
Essentially, strategies that concentrate on community or school-based initiatives for change targets to address the immediate causes of the gangs. Through the activities, the program enforcement officers can understand and develop the task forces to solve society problems that lead to gang formations. For instance, shootings within the school environment or the community by the young people do not just occur without warning. By aligning law enforcement programs within the school and community system, youth violence is addressed as well as its consequences outlined as a way of combating such incidences occurring (Alberts, 2004). Similarly, community-based programs targets at addressing the needs of gang members that may be the basis for their engagement in firearm violence and design better and coordinated intervention programs. Such are more likely to address the problem of street families who are likely to engage in illegal activities as a way of sustaining their lives. The juvenile criminal justice curriculum supports correctional facilities, where students get an opportunity to further their studies while undertaking the correctional program (Davis, Steele & Bozick, 2014). The ultimate goal of this program aims at salvaging and rehabilitating the youth in a bid to reduce the juvenile delinquency and gang participation by young people of school-going age. The program also aims at reducing the school dropout rates of students involved in firearms violence. Moreover, the program also reduces the risk of nurturing gang members within the community.
Braga, A. A., United States., & Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. (2010). Gun violence among serious young offenders. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Davis, L. M., Steele, J. L., Bozick, R., Williams, M. V., Turner, S., Miles, J., Saunders, J. M., … United States. (2014). How effective is correctional education, and where do we go from here?: The results of a comprehensive evaluation. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.
Hess, K. M., & Wright, J. P. (2012). Juvenile justice. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.
Roberts, A. R. (2004).Juvenile Justice Sourcebook: Past, Present, and Future. (2004). New York: Oxford University Press.
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