Every year, when the FBI releases the new crime data from the Uniform Crime Reports, we see media stories and policymakers commenting on the meaning of small, year-to-year changes. They should heed this video from Norway, which was designed to explain trends in climate change. It is just as relevant for understanding crime trends.
Stop Watching the Dog
Video credit: Animated short from the Norwegian program, “Siffer.” Animation by Ole Christoffer Haga.
In 2012, the Research & Evaluation Center received the first of three grants from the New York City Council to assess the implementation of gun violence reduction initiatives in New York City neighborhoods. The project began tracking the formation and deployment of gun violence reduction strategies in five areas: South Bronx, Harlem, Jamaica (Queens), North Shore of Staten Island, and East New York.
In 2014, the City announced the expansion of violence reduction programs in other areas of the five boroughs. The accompanying map provides the locations of all of the programs, including the Cure Violence affiliates funded by the City Council and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as several comparison areas that are being studied by the Research & Evaluation Center. John Jay researchers (operating under the street brand “NYC Cure”) are conducting surveys of young men (ages 18-30) in many of the communities operating Cure Violence programs and several of the comparison areas.
Between 2009 and 2013, the rate of youth violence was cut almost in half, falling from 300 arrests per 100,000 juveniles in 2006 to about 160 arrests per 100,000 in 2013. The total arrest rate for violent youth crime has dropped to a new annual low every year from 2009 through 2013.
With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the City Council of New York City, the Research and Evaluation Center is evaluating the effectiveness of the “Cure Violence” model of violence reduction. The evaluation team is studying the key components of the Cure Violence model, the procedures used to implement the model, and the effectiveness of the model in reducing pro-violent social norms among high-risk communities in New York.
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Positive youth development (PYD) is a field of practice that applies lessons from the science of adolescent development to the routine practices of youth-serving organizations. The PYD approach encourages communities and agencies to build upon the positive assets of youth rather than simply reduce youth problems and treat youth deficits. It judges success by every youth’s attainment of positive outcomes rather than their avoidance of negative outcomes. A PYD approach helps youth transition from adolescence to adulthood through the acquisition of pro-social skills and supportive relationships. Youth justice is a challenging environment in which to implement a rigorous PYD approach. The insights and lessons of developmental science do not translate easily into the day-to-day tasks of youth justice systems, which often focus on control and compliance. Youth justice practitioners require assistance as they apply developmental principles. The Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) Model was developed to meet this challenge. It provides a simple framework for designing PYD-compatible interventions for justice-involved young people and for supporting youth justice reforms.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which registered sex offenders (RSOs) cope with stigmatization and manage their identities when they are subjected to or anticipate social condemnation. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 RSOs. Respondents discussed methods they use to cope with and manage their stigmatized identities, including honesty, concealment, and isolation, which are addressed in prior literature on stigma management. Additional coping strategies were discussed: grouping, in which RSOs seek out other individuals who are similarly stigmatized as a source of social support and understanding, and denial, in which whereby stigmatized individuals disavow the label that society has ascribed upon them to subjectively reform their identities as separate from their sex offense conviction. Stigmatization of RSOs has negative effects on their social participation and methods of coping with their stigmatized identities may have implications for public health. Recommendations for improving the supervision of RSOs in the community are discussed.