Violence Interruption

Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) has years of experience in working in communities with high rates of gun violence: for 45 years, we’ve worked with high-risk justice involved youth in urban communities across the United States, including those who are gang-affiliated or with known gun related histories. In cities such as Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, DC., YAP has implemented models that target specific individuals, neighborhoods and broader violence and crime reduction strategies.

 

Centuries of racist policies and practices have resulted in clustered racially segregated communities of color, where structural racism leads to high poverty, illegal enterprises, violence and despair. Numerous studies that have looked at the intersectionality of race and class and gun violence have clearly shown that there is some relationship between issues of racial segregation and issues of social and material deprivation.

YAP’s approach not only prevents imminent violence but begins to unthread the root causes of urban violence, such as social inequality, economic inequality and instability, the level of citizens’ trust in institutions. YAP has adapted the principles of our effective youth justice model by providing economic opportunities for credible messengers – people who live in neighborhoods with high rates of violence and in some cases, individuals who have returned to their communities after serving time in prison.

YAP’s violence interruption programs are in Baltimore, Dallas, Charlotte, and Washington DC. Further in Chicago, Choose to Change -- a partnership with Children’s Home & Aid -- has been shown to significantly reduce gun violence as measured in a randomized controlled trial study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab.

 
 
CHOOSE TO CHANGE
A primary prevention strategy, it works with youth aged 13-18 from targeted neighborhoods identified by the school district as at highest risk for being a victim or perpetrator of violence and provides them with a blend of intensive mentoring along with a group cognitive behavioral intervention to address trauma in Chicago. A randomized control study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that participants had 48 percent fewer violent-crime arrests than their control peers and that these positive impacts persist up to at least one and a half years after the program ended.
CHOOSE TO CHANGE
SAFE STREETS
A secondary prevention strategy, it employs a “Cure Violence” public health approach and focuses on changing social norms and interrupting violence through street outreach and specific work with individuals aged 14-25 identified as most at risk of violence in the North Penn community of Baltimore City through funding from the Mayor’s Office.
SAFE STREETS
 
CREDIBLE MESSENGERS/PATHWAYS
A tertiary prevention strategy, it provides justice-involved men aged 20-35 most at risk of participating in or becoming victims of violence with intensive wraparound services, workforce development programming and six months of supported work in Washington, DC. Funded by the Office of Neighborhood and Safety Engagement, outcomes demonstrate that over 90% of program participants have successfully completed the Credible Messenger and subsidized employment programs.
CREDIBLE MESSENGERS/PATHWAYS