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Youth Violence in Urban Communities

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
This paper presents causes, correlates, and interventions of youth violence presented to participants in the seminar on “Youth Violence in Urban Communities” held in 2000 at Harvard University and participant suggestions for decreasing youth violence.
Participants attending the 2000, “Youth Violence in Urban Communities” seminar held at Harvard University examined recent research into the causes and consequences of violence among adolescents and youth. Seminar discussions included: trends in youth violence; the effects of witnessing violence on children and youth, theories about the causative factors contributing to youth violence, and prevention and intervention programs. Important research findings identified regarding youth violence included: (1) both the sharp increases and decreases in violence rates since 1980 are largely attributable to youth; (2) urban youth are witnessing violence at disturbingly high levels, resulting in negative consequences for their psychosocial functioning; (3) traumatized children may be misdiagnosed; and (4) gun violence can be modeled as a contagious epidemic. Promising ideas and interventions to decrease youth violence outlined by researchers included: (1) community policing; (2) the California Wellness Foundation’s Violence Prevention Initiative; and (3) the Boston Gun Project. After reviewing the data presented on the causes, correlates, and preventions and interventions, several proposals for decreasing youth violence were offered by participants and included: (1) decrease youth access to guns; (2) create community youth programs that address the social meaning of violence for adolescents; (3) increase adult engagement in the lives of children and youth; (4) involve communities in designing programs to address youth violence; (5) encourage policies that focus on prevention; and (6) conduct further research and facilitate dissemination of best practice models. References