Living in a rural community used to mean that gang activity rarely raised its head. This is not true anymore. My local news is filled with problems of gangs, drugs and violence each evening. I just returned from Indiana and Maine grant writing training and both states are addressing similar youth issues. In my own state, Urban, suburban and rural Pennsylvania is all working to address gang issues. Most law enforcement departments are working to develop or strengthen their policing strategies to address this increasing problem.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states that the proliferation of gang problems in both large and small cites, suburbs and even rural areas over the past two decades led to the development of a comprehensive, coordinated response to America’s gang problem by the OJJDP.
IN 2009, The OJJDP created the National Gang Center to develop a comprehensive approach to reduce gang involvement and levels of gang crime. The NGC website features the latest research about gangs, evidence-based, anti-gang programs and links to tools, data base and other resources for developing strong effective Community-based gang prevention, intervention and suppression strategies. There is also data analysis of the findings from nearly 15 years of data collected by the annual National Youth Gang Survey (NYGS) of 2,500 U.S. law enforcement agencies. Users can read and download publications related to street gangs, request training and technical assistance as they plan and implement anti-gang strategies, and register for a variety of anti-gang training courses.
Five policing strategies have been identified by the Department of Justice from data gathers across the US about gang activity. Community mobilization, social intervention, opportunities for educational and vocational advancements, suppression and organizational change are the five as the five most effective strategies when it comes to dealing with gang issues.
OJJDP has developed a Strategic Planning Tool to assist the community in assessing gang problems and planning strategies to address gang problems. The tool has four interrelated components to assist you in develop appropriate and fundable strategies
The second edition of the OJJDP Report Best Practices to Address Community Gang Problems: OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model will guide you and your community on how to respond an implement comprehensive programming to address gangs.
Many grants have evolved from many of the federal agencies. These grants may be located at the federal Office of Justice Office Substance Abuse and Mental Health, US Department of Education, US Health and Human Services. A search at www.grants.gov for gangs, gun violence prevention, and youth substance abuse prevention will bring up grants from all of these departments. The police department must partner with the corresponding youth organizations within their jurisdictions to obtain these grants.
A police department must work along with their community to address gangs. To help guide you on this issue they OJJDP had established a National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention has begun a national conversation between all partners who need to work in collaborative partnerships to address gangs. The forum was created as a new model for addressing the solutions for the reduction of gangs. Additional research is being conducted by the University of Maryland through their Blueprints for Gang Prevention Project.
The utilization of all of these resources will provide the police department and it community the tools, strategies, data and scientifically proven approaches for dealing with gang problems and planning strategies for prevention. Use the federal research tools to assist your community in obtaining, federal, state and private funding for gang reduction. A coordinated approach with community partners will assist your department to obtain the funding, tools and technology to address this growing community issue. The department which takes the time to research, assess, plan and develop comprehensive strategies will be rewarded with funding.