Earlier this week, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released data from its annual survey that tracks the size and scope of gang activity nationwide. The 2011 National Youth Gang Survey reported increases in the total number of gangs nationwide but decreases in the number of gang-related homicides during that time period.
While a decrease in homicides—gang related or otherwise—is great news, any homicide…any activity that contributes to America’s epidemic of violence is not–and we must continue to invest in innovative collaborations and ideas that help eradicate this problem.
For example, the public health sector can adopt violence prevention as part of its ideology and help law enforcement with prevention efforts. Or, in the case of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s Community Safety Partnership, law enforcement has had success in preventing violence by teaming up with an unlikely ally– former gang members who now serve as credible community messengers trying to change their lives and their communities by putting an end to violence. Finally, in the Cure Violence hospital intervention program, outreach workers are successfully teaming up with emergency room doctors in partner cities across the country to help prevent the spread of retaliatory violence following shootings.
If we change our thinking and learn to approach violence in new ways–in collaborative ways—in ways our forefathers may never have imagined… our efforts to end violence, one of America’s most deadly contagions, will be stronger.
>>Read Gary Slutkin’s call to the public health community on TEDMED: http://blog.tedmed.com/?p=3727
>>Learn how law enforcement and public health can collaborating: http://cureviolence.org/news/center-for-court-innovation-launches-podcast-series-on-collaborations-between-law-enforcement-and-public-health-in-preventing-violence/
>>Read the entire 2011 National Youth Gang Survey: http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/242884.pdf