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Local Measures: The Need for Neighborhood-Level Data in Youth Violence Prevention Initiatives

NCJ Number
Jeffrey A. Butts; Alana M. Henninger
Date Published
January 2017
This report argues for and describes steps being taken for promoting a multi-city network of neighborhood-level data on youth violence and its correlates.
Although crime in the United States declined sharply after the mid-1990s and remains at historically low levels, some cities and specific neighborhoods within cities are still facing high rates of youth violence. Currently, it is impossible to conduct a rigorous evaluation of programs intended to reduce youth violence in such cities, because there is no multi-city network of neighborhood-level data on youth violence and its correlates. Steps are being taken to address this data gap. This report describes some of the most promising resources and suggests the type of work needed to provide communities with accurate, localized crime-trend data that can be used to determine the effects of multi-jurisdictional violence-prevention initiatives. Some of the data series described in this report could serve as models and may inspire new initiatives to integrate various types and sources of data for assessing the effects of violence-reduction programs. Some data-collection innovations used by National Forum Cities (cities involved in a structured effort to reduce violence) for tracking neighborhood trends in violence are described. Other existing models for improved data are profiled. They include Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, the Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, the efforts of the national initiative Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE), the CDC's WISQARS tool, and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. The Limitations of existing resources are identified and discussed. 25 references