This evaluation examined the evolution and implementation of San Jose's Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force (MGPTF) over 20 years and the association between the MGPTF activities and youth outcomes and gang violence over the same period.
Throughout its history, the MGPTF relied on the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as a strategic resource. The Task Force combined the local knowledge provided by San Jose residents with OJJDP's identified best practices to guide the design of the MGPTF's strategic frameworks and Bringing Everyone's Strengths Together (BEST) programs. The result was the creation of a nationally recognized violence-prevention and intervention model specific to San Jose but generalizable to other jurisdictions. The evaluation found that San Jose neighborhoods with a greater density of BEST services experienced greater reductions in youth arrest rates than neighborhoods where fewer youth participated in BEST services. This proved to be true for arrests for violent offenses and all arrests. BEST clients also experienced reduced involvement in the juvenile justice system. Youth gang affiliation in the city decreased by almost 19 percent, notably faster than the 6-percent decrease among youth in the rest of the county. From the beginning of the MGPTF, the Mayor framed the gang issue as a "youth services issue," treating the problem as a community-wide concern. This resulted in strong stakeholder response to the program. Support was gained from leaders and service providers in community sectors that included education, law enforcement, social services, and faith-based organizations. Community residents were also made aware of the program and how they could participate. The evaluation methodology and its limitations are discussed. 17 figures and 2 tables
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: February 1, 2017