Preventing Crime and Violence in California

Several websites addressing juvenile delinquency abound on the internet. Many focus on the community’s role in helping to stamp out this devastating societal problem. Two such websites are SafeYouth. Org  of the National Youth Violence Prevention Center at its home page http://www. safeyouth. org/scripts/teens. asp  . The second is SafeState. org, a website of the state of California, at its home page  http://safestate. org/index. cfm? navID=12 . The first website is philosophical in nature and might appeal more to adults or other city leaders if they choose to investigate it.

It appears to be a type of generic model that can be applied, or modified, to many communities across the country. The other is more action oriented and comprehensive in its approach. It is based on a particular state that has already categorized some if its specific problems in the area of juvenile crime and delinquency. SafeYouth. Org The specific community program noted at SafeYouth. Org is located at http://www. safeyouth. org/scripts/teens/community. asp .

This organization operates nationally and believes in a community approach from a dedicated community that is ready to create and accept change. This community needs to understand its own history and its own specific conditions in order to be a real candidate for change in the area of youth delinquency and violence. This site seems to appeal to adults primarily. There are very few pictures or graphics and the reading level is more elevated.

One link on the page addresses teens specifically - http://www. safeyouth. org/scripts/teens/facts.asp - but it still has very few graphics. This is the only link that speaks directly to teens. Similarly, the site is not linked or affiliated with any type of educational institution. This program entails that the community come to identify, first, and reduce, second, the risk factors for child and teen. Then the community can establish protective measures. It charges communities to design and implement strategies that have been demonstrated to be effective, or at least promising, in other places or in previous attempts within the community.

It stresses the position of the community, the schools and the individuals to achieve a well-rounded program. This program has the potential to be effective as long as the community is motivated and stays motivated to achieve the goals. The website, unfortunately, does not mention any type of real training for the community to engage in. It does give contact numbers, but no real, specific examples of how this organization will help the people get started. Basically, this website remains at a philosophical level and leaves the entire project to the specific community.

While the website is wide-ranging, it seems to neglect an integral component – teens. Instead it targets parents and other adults. Parents of violent teens may be in denial, while parents of victimized teens may rush to the authorities. It is also known that most adults use the internet for information less than teens. This website provides no information that differentiates genders or abused children. It does address gang behavior at the link http://www. safeyouth. org/scripts/teens/gangs. asp and drug abuse at the link http://www. safeyouth.org/scripts/teens/drugs. asp .

Abuse links for teens or children who may be abused and sites for women who are victims of date rape or domestic violence are must-haves in today’s times. This information should be added to the site immediately. SafeState. Org This California website addresses a plethora of violence issues. Its focus and belief platform is that community-oriented programs should be based in philosophy and focus on organization and management of community goals in reducing both violence itself and the fears of the community.

They attempt to do this through personal intervention and dedication. The community-specific portion of this vast website is located at http://safestate. org/index. cfm? navId=7 where several links to various community based programs are offered. This website is more appealing than the first due to its color scheme and graphics. More pictures should be included to hold the attentions of younger teens, however. I also wonder at the lack of more visuals, such as charts and graphs. It, too, is independent of links or affiliations with secondary schools or universities.

One of the major community programs is the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS). This approach addresses the causes of crime and encourages solutions that will endure long term tests, thus making them both enduring and innovative. Among the top objectives is to improve the quality of communication between law enforcement and the community and to foster cooperation between all community systems, including economic, social, justice, education and policing authorities. The relationship between business and law enforcement is stressed at length. This program shows much promise.

It has several links to training for people interested in COPPS or its various offshoots such as Safe from the Start (http://safestate. org/index. cfm? navId=251) which focuses on young children and the Safe Passage Program (http://safestate. org/index. cfm? navid=436) which focuses on gangs in high school. The parent program offers materials and personnel for training and several ways to contact them. In addition, the organization gives out safety awards to groups that have contributed to the community effort. This is a great way to gain publicity for a noteworthy cause.

This website is very comprehensive and seems to leave out nothing. All areas from women, to abused children, to gangs, to discipline standards, to school policies are covered. This seems like a well-thought-out program.

References

Community Oriented Policing. (2006). SafeState:  Preventing Crime and Violence in California. Retrieved December 1, 2006 from http://safestate. org/index. cfm? navId=7. Community Violence Prevention Initiatives. (2006). National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. Retrieved December 1, 2006 from http://www. safeyouth. org/ scripts/teens/community. asp.