State League Public Safety and Violence Prevention Initiatives

Arkansas

The Arkansas Municipal League has made a sample ordinance available to assist cities interested in establishing a curfew for youth.  Many cities throughout the state and the nation have adopted nighttime curfews to reduce juvenile crime and victimization.  To learn more about the Arkansas League's sample ordinance, contact John Wilkerson at jwilkerson@arml.org.

California

Since 2007, the YEF Institute and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency have co-sponsored a 13-site California Cities Gang Prevention Network with the generous support of the California Endowment and California Wellness Foundation to identify effective strategies for reducing gang violence and victimization.  Network cities include Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Oxnard, Richmond, Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San José, Santa Rosa and Stockton. 

The League of California Cities participates on the network's Advisory Board and has played an important role in working with NLC and the network to secure passage of a California Assembly resolution urging the federal government to give priority funding consideration to cities with comprehensive gang prevention plans, cross-system partnerships, and data-driven tracking of progress.  Other policy achievements at the state level include continuation of state CalGRIP grants for cities' anti-gang work and broadening the mission of a reorganized California Board of State and Community Corrections to include prevention and intervention.

At the federal level, the White House, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education have created a new, six-city National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention inspired in part by the California Cities Gang Prevention Network.  Forum cities include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas (Calif.) and San José, the last two of which are also in the California gang prevention network.  Both groups bring together diverse stakeholders teams that include mayors and other municipal leaders, law enforcement officials, school district, county and state leaders, social service agencies, and community organizations.  

With full backing from the White House, federal agencies participating in the Forum - such as the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, Health & Human Services, Labor, and Housing & Urban Development, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Centers for Disease Control - will seek to identify innovative policies and practices to support local anti-violence efforts, and coordinate existing resources more strategically to address unmet local needs.  Forum and network cities have produced comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, data-driven plans to reduce youth violence.  The plans focus on balanced approaches that combine prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry strategies. 

The Administration also requested $12 million in Department of Justice funding for coordinated local efforts to reduce youth violence.  In addition, NLC has shared insights from the network to inform the Administration's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which aims to transform the nation's most distressed neighborhoods and maximize the impact of federal funding for neighborhood-based initiatives, including Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grants.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and California Attorney General Kamala Harris have participated in recent meetings of the California Cities Gang Prevention Network.

New Jersey

The New Jersey State League of Municipalities Executive Board hosted a Mayors' Summit on Gang Prevention to discuss a comprehensive agenda to address gangs and violence. The league's Executive Board also established a Gang Prevention and Youth Violence Task Force composed of several mayors and local officials from different areas of the state. The Task Force is charged to share relevant information on strategies and programs adopted in their respective municipalities; review and formulate the league's position on all gang related legislative proposals; present the league's position in public testimony before the Legislature; and serve as a resource to the state Advisory Committee to the Gang Land Security Task Force.

The focus of the league's Task Force is prevention through community and law enforcement involvement with emphasis on the social component. These partnerships, coupled with pro-active intervention, can be an effective deterrence to gang recruitment. Community involvement would engage schools, PTA/PTO, family, faith-based Institutions and other community organizations in a collaborative and cooperative effort. Law Enforcement involvement would entail collaboration and cooperation with state law enforcement through the Office of the Attorney General.