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Engaging Youth In Neighborhood Safety

Young people are engaged in their community in Seattle's Rainer Beach neighborhood.

Courtesy Seattle Neighborhood Group

Capturing the trust of young people and getting them involved in community projects is one of the hardest, and most important, elements of a comprehensive place-based approach to crime reduction. A number of LISC-supported community-police partnerships have found innovative ways to engage youth, such as the Kansas City arts program and the Newark community survey mark-up described in our recent blog. In South Los Angeles, the youth-focused Coalition for Responsible Community Development runs employment, leadership development and restorative justice programs for its members.

Over the summer, LISC hosted a webinar called Building Community Leadership for Sustainable Crime Reduction with speakers from two partnerships funded by the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program. These particular partnerships have made engaging youth a top priority. Barb Biondo of the Seattle Neighborhood Group described an initiative in Rainier Beach called “A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth.” Through this program, dozens of local residents – including young people – have participated in training on problem-solving techniques, training they put to good use as they implemented projects like a Safe Passage effort around violence hot spots.

Bringing vibrancy to Brownsville, Brooklyn

Brownsville Community Justice Center

Deron Johnston of the Brownsville Community Justice Center, a project of the Center for Court Innovation in Brooklyn, described a variety of efforts to get young people talking about violence and stepping up to “change the narrative” of their neighborhood. Click here to view an archived version of the webinar with Barb and Deron.

In an earlier webinar, Erica Mateo, Deron’s colleague at the Justice Center, talked about youth engagement approaches that have been successful in Brownsville. Click here to view Part 1 of her presentation. Click here to view Part 2.

Posted in Community Safety

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