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Boston Strategy to Prevent Youth Violence: Boston Police Department and Partners

NCJ Number
Date Published
98 pages
The foundation of Boston's approach to preventing youth violence is based on coalitions and partnerships among police, prosecutors, probation officers, correctional officials, social service personnel, judges, health professionals, parents, and young people.
A key element of Boston's approach is Operation Ceasefire, an innovative collaboration that focuses targeted interventions on individuals most likely to become offenders and victims in firearm violence. The Youth Violence Strike Force is one of the primary vehicles Boston uses in this effort. This force is comprised of 50 full-time police officers from Boston and 15 police officers from outside agencies and focuses on the collaborative use of order maintenance tactics to quickly "cool" any area of the city in which gang firearm violence flares. The most dangerous offenders are targeted for priority prosecution, and a substantial effort is made to disrupt the flow of arms to gangs. Another element of Boston's approach is Operation Night Light in which police and probation officers unite to enforce probation terms for high-risk probationers. The Youth Service Providers Network (YSPN) is a partnership between the Boston Police Department and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston that facilities the referral of at-risk young people. The YSPN has developed a novel case management referral system that enables police officers to serve youth and families by simply calling the network's district-based social worker with the name and telephone number of a young person in need of service. The Summer of Opportunity is a collaboration between the Boston Police Department's Youth Violence Strike Force and Northeastern University to provide job and life skills training to young people. The Child Witness to Violence Project is a pilot partnership between district police officers in the Dorchester neighborhood and medical staff at the Boston Medical Center. The Alternatives to Incarceration Network provides increased monitoring and rehabilitation to a targeted group of offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated. With the Cease Fire and Night Light programs, the most dangerous and recalcitrant offenders are subject to intensive law enforcement and prosecution, particularly in the area of firearms trafficking. In the area of prevention, various educational, recreational, and community building projects have been implemented at district and neighborhood levels. Boston's approach to preventing youth violence is evaluated in terms of cost, effectiveness, and replication. Tables and figures