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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference 3 Tactics This part organizes the task force recommendations to the mayor of Cornet City around the seven objectives that concluded Part 2. In each category, the objectives are ordered roughly by time, reflecting whether they are likely to produce immediate results, require months, or depend on long-term investments. Part 4 turns to innovations in local government organization and intergovernmental relations that the task forces believed would be useful in supporting the tactics described in this part. Two words of caution. First, there is no scientific certainty about how to reduce violence, and few of the tactics recommended here have passed the test of scientific evaluations. Therefore, these tactics should be considered as options in portfolios of plausibly effective responses to urban violence. As with financial investments, these tactics carry no guarantee and require performance monitoring and evaluation; indeed, evaluating these tactics and revising them in light of experience is perhaps the best way to develop a national strategy to control violence. Second, like any portfolio, the response to urban violence demands balance. Different task forces at the conference gave more or less weight to different objectives. However, none believed that achieving any single objective would be sufficient to produce meaningful reductions in violence. Perhaps the most often repeated statement at the conference was along the following lines: "The ideas we have on the table sound useful and important to me. But we're kidding ourselves if we don't recognize that we also
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference have to maintain the criminal justice response, create economic hope for these kids and support the families that are trying to raise good kids, …" With these cautions in mind, we believe that a balanced portfolio of tactics suggested to the mayor of Cornet City warrants serious consideration by actual jurisdictions in which violence seems somehow out of control. Many of the suggestions flow directly from insights provided by social science research reported in the National Research Council and Guggenheim studies. The suggestions reported here all survived the "face validity" test of being seriously considered and not discarded by a skeptical task force of senior scholars and policy makers concerned with urban violence. Objective 1: Promote a more effective criminal justice response to violence. A more effective criminal justice response to Cornet City's recent siege of violence was widely seen as essential. The task forces offered four kinds of recommendations: improving emergency response, overcoming community fear of co-operating with criminal justice agencies, expanding options for intermediate sanctions and postincarceration aftercare, and making traditional criminal justice responses more effective. Although not explicitly stated, an underlying assumption supporting these tactics is that the police will be honest, and will treat members of the community with respect. Improving Emergency Response The Cornet City case opens with a futile attempt to report a shooting on the 911 emergency line. Jammed emergency lines are common in cities throughout the country. One task force called for "whatever it takes" to eliminate busy signals and recorded announcements on 911 emergency lines. Failure to immediately connect a 911 line was said to communicate in the clearest possible way that the police department, too, finds violence out of control. Clearing jammed emergency lines was a first-order priority for Cornet City because the inability of citizens to even call out for help has powerful symbolic as well as practical implications. In other cities or communities the key symbolism will be different. Whatever it is, the issue must be identified and swiftly acted upon. To improve emergency response in Cornet City, conferees suggested (1) more 911 operators; (2) a "triage" system for handling incoming calls, although such systems need fine-tuning to avoid exacerbating poor police-community relations; and (3) public education campaigns to encourage reporting nonemergency events to a nonemergency line. In the eyes of the task forces, the minutes and hours following the police response to a violent emergency offer several underexploited oppor-
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference tunities to solve the immediate crime, prevent new ones, and reduce community fear and despair. They recommended that the mayor: give enraged young relatives and acquaintances of murder victims immediate attention—from police, counselors, and the community—commensurate with their dual status as sources of help in solving the immediate case and potential violent perpetrators in revenge killings; keep the police officer on the neighborhood community beat informed regarding all 911 calls for assistance and the police response—to develop his or her own understanding of the community and to communicate as much as is feasible to satisfy residents' legitimate needs for information and reassurance; create an active Victim Assistance Unit that, while providing psychological and practical help to surviving victims and families, also advances the larger goals of reducing fear, promoting positive attitudes toward the criminal justice system, and creating channels for information that may be useful in solving the case; and mount immediate and visible police patrols in the vicinity of a "violence wave"—to reduce fear and encourage a helpful community presence on the street, even if patrols are not expected to advance the ongoing investigation. Overcoming Fear of Cooperation with Criminal Justice Authorities Community reluctance to cooperate with criminal justice authorities lessens the ability of the system to reduce violence by punishing offenders. Nationally, only about one-half of all serious violent crimes are reported to police, and witness reluctance is a significant and growing impediment to successful prosecution after arrest. Between 1974 and 1990, the percentage of felony cases dismissed due to witness problems approximately doubled for violent crimes and grew 12-fold for drug and other "vice" crimes in Cornet City. A judge there has called witness intimidation the major problem facing the local criminal justice system. Conference participants saw effective, nonintrusive witness protection as both a right and a tool for reducing violence. As television crime shows describe incessantly, typical witness protection programs are designed for long-time racketeers with few family or community ties, who feel trapped between organizational death sentences if they cooperate and long prison sentences if they refuse to do so. Understandably, witnesses facing this dilemma willingly take extreme and disruptive measures to protect themselves. But for most witnesses who are law-abiding citizens, if they are faced with a choice between entering such a program and remaining silent, they are likely to choose silence.
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference Examples of tactics for effective witness protection can be found at all stages of the police and court processes, from investigation through pretrial release and prosecution. Specifically, task force participants mentioned the following: During house-to-house interviews, investigators should make sure they are not seen stopping at the homes of productive witnesses longer than ar other houses. Arrangements should be made for later, unobserved communication with these witnesses. For promising but hesitant witnesses, detectives should leave business cards with a request to "Call any time if you think of anything else." If suspicions of police corruption are widespread, the cards can direct calls to a nondepartmental telephone number or to the cellular unit of the community police officer. Investigators can minimize the need for courtroom testimony by developing independent corroboration from less visible witnesses or other sources. For high-risk times in cases for which witnesses have had to play key visible roles—such as immediately after a suspect's release before trial or following an acquittal—witness protection programs should incorporate useful principles from battered women's shelters, with their emphasis on temporary housing, psychological support, and minimal disruption to routine activities. Expanding Intermediate Sanctions and Postincarceration Aftercare The limitations of some juvenile and criminal justice system standard approaches, including incarceration, as tools for reducing violence, were raised in the briefings on National Research Council reports and in task force discussions. Understanding and Preventing Violence reported that while average prison time served per serious violent crime nearly tripled between 1975 and 1989, the level of those crimes merely oscillated, so that their number in 1989 was almost exactly the same as in 1975—about 2.9 million. Apparently, imprisoned violent offenders were replaced by new offenders on the street. Losing Generations pointed to trends in the sanctioning of nonviolent youthful offenders that may help explain this replacement effect. Court decisions and changes in practice since the 1960s have brought increasing numbers of young people, especially minorities, into adversarial juvenile or criminal justice proceedings that place them at risk of incarceration for nonviolent and status offenses (such as curfew violations). Harsh punishments for minor offenses may set the stage for future violent offenses by compromising the youth's future prospects for legitimate employment. The
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference mechanisms involved include the creation of court records that prejudice employers. Furthermore, prison isolation from job markets makes inmates' existing job skills outdated, and prison life itself appears to solidify social networks that perpetuate violence associated with ethnic conflicts and illegal markets. Recognizing these problems, three task forces called for systems of intermediate sanctions intended to impose real punishment on adult and juvenile offenders, including the mechanisms and resources needed to enforce the sanctions while avoiding the costs and violence-promoting effects of imprisonment. The task forces urged that intermediate sanction systems include the following components: emphasis on community restitution, both to remind the offender that he or she is part of a community and to offset the community costs of crime and punishment with some return to the community; conditions that discourage further criminal activity, such as frequent monitoring so that a tightening or amending of conditions can follow immediately upon relapse and to ensure that offenders avoid certain areas, associates and activities; requirements and supports to help the offender begin to overcome personal barriers to economic success by participating in treatment for addiction to alcohol or other drugs, high school equivalency or other education, training in vocational and social skills, or special programs to overcome cognitive or communications problems; recognition that where laws provide for parole or other forms of postrelease supervision, intermediate sanctions can be used either as alternatives to incarceration for minor crimes or as postrelease adjuncts after release from incarceration for serious violent offenses. Administering intermediate sanctions that address communities' priorities and individual offenders' needs requires less emphasis on cases and more on improving the quality of neighborhood life, restoring victims and communities, and diverting offenders' life courses from criminal to productive directions. In making these recommendations, the task forces recognized that the courts are not organized to ensure compliance with intermediate sanctions. Fines and restitution go unpaid, community service is not done. It is an important challenge for Cornet City and real cities to find or create the organizational capacity to implement this strategy. With that major caveat in mind, task force members offered suggestions about how to construct a system of intermediate sanctions. One is sentences that reflect both the risk that offenders pose to the community and individual offenders' incentives, capacities, and needs (with safeguards against arbitrary or discriminating judgments). Finding the right sanctions requires
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference a sophisticated risk analysis and motivational assessment. Monitoring the system requires periodic consultations between prosecutors and residents of all neighborhoods in a jurisdiction, to provide prosecutors with a clearer picture of neighborhood concerns and to inform residents about how prosecutorial decisions are reached. Enforcement of intermediate sanctions can be improved by stationing satellite probation offices in neighborhoods, where they can discover and respond to violations more quickly, recognize emerging neighborhood problems that may pose special risks to their clients' success, find and mobilize community resources, and exchange information with community police officers that should improve the effectiveness of both. Making Traditional Responses More Effective The innovations discussed above would represent new directions for most local criminal justice agencies in responding to violent crimes. In addition, the task forces discussed five ideas for making traditional criminal justice responses to violent crimes more effective without departing sharply from existing practice: extending court hours into the evening to reduce police overtime and detention costs; increasing the number of police officers; broadening access to juvenile court records; sentencing nonviolent offenders to military-style "boot camp" programs; and targeting gang leaders for arrest and incarceration. Extending court hours was the only noncontroversial recommendation. However, all of the five struck some conference participants as reasonable ways to increase criminal justice system effectiveness at least marginally, without sacrificing due process. Discussions of the other four illustrate the need for local flexibility and participation in fashioning antiviolence programs that reflect local operating conditions and attitudes toward the criminal justice system. Two kinds of opposition arose to the last four ideas. The first kind reflected operational concerns: Could such new practices or resources be managed effectively? The second kind revealed a certain lack of trust that a more efficient criminal justice response, even guided by principles of due process, would meet the needs of the minority neighborhoods most afflicted by violence. Losing Generations explains this lack of trust in terms of three factors: first, a historical legacy from times when the criminal justice system was used rather explicitly to "keep blacks in line;" second, uncertainty over whether local criminal justice systems would use new resources to reduce violence in minority neighborhoods or contain it there, away from predominantly white neighborhoods; and, third, perceptions of the juvenile and criminal justice systems as perpetuating a process that, perhaps inadvertently, mortgages the future employment and other life prospects of mi-
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference nority youth for the sake of crime reduction today. These questions, related to management and community trust, arose repeatedly in discussions of all but the first idea for improving the effectiveness of the criminal justice response to violence. Extending Court Hours The abolishment of night courts in most jurisdictions requires that police officers who work nights come in one overtime during the day for the arraignment of individuals arrested after court hours. This is an expensive use of unnecessary police overtime and an inefficient deployment of a scarce resource—community police officers. Increasing the Number of Police Officers Placing additional officers on the streets occupies a central place in current federal thinking and legislation. Therefore, it seems worth noting that none of the mayors or mock task forces expressed the view that more officers, by itself, would be valuable in Cornet City or their home cities. Nearly all participants, however, placed high priority on mobilizing neighborhoods to cooperate with police in planning and carrying out violence prevention. As explained under Objective 2 (below), community- and problem-oriented policing are two approaches to accomplishing such mobilization, and they both place great demands on officers' time. Therefore, a federal initiative that combines resources for new officers with incentives and technical assistance for adopting these approaches will advance what the conferees identified as a priority. Because new officers and preventive policing both require training and integration, linking the initiatives may reduce the associated costs through consolidation. Some training and personnel costs might be avoided by following the Seattle, Washington, practice of using civilians rather than sworn officers in some community policing functions. Broadening Access to Juvenile Records Discussions of broadening criminal justice system access to juvenile court records also illustrated differences that seem best resolved at the local level. Several task force members believed that eliminating one of the remaining barriers between the juvenile and criminal justice systems, separate record repositories, was appropriate because of the violent nature of crimes now being committed by juveniles. Others believed that combining the repositories would exacerbate the adverse effects of both justice systems on minority youths' long-term employment prospects. The primary issue is access to records by prosecutors shortly after arrest, when priority decisions are being made regarding charges, bail, etc. Following conviction, juvenile records are normally available to criminal court judges in presenting reports. A 1986 recommendation of the National Research Council's Panel on Research on Criminal Careers may offer
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference a starting point for resolving debates on this issue: to maintain separate repositories, to allow prosecutors temporary access to an individual's juvenile record following an adult arrest for use only in the instant case, but to transfer the juvenile record to the adult repository following any adult conviction. One useful variant might be to restrict the domain to cases involving violent crimes. Creating Boot Camps The discussion of boot camps also pointed up the need to encourage local flexibility. Boot camps, especially for youthful offenders, are gaining advocates in many states. However, conference participants expressed the view that boot camps alone result in neither lower recidivism rates than traditional punishments nor lower costs per inmate than prisons. In addition, some states that introduced boot camps for nonviolent offenders were surprised to experience increases in regular prison populations. This apparently occurred because of ''net-widening": some nonviolent offenders who previously would have avoided prison wound up there solely because they failed the boot camp program. Legislation in at least one state that attempted to avoid the net-widening pitfall apparently erred in the opposite direction by excessive "net tightening": their new boot camps were drastically underpopulated because so few offenders met the stringent statutory eligibility criteria. To achieve the desired outcomes, sentences to boot camps must be followed by concentrated efforts to ensure employment and shelter. No institutional corrections program is likely to have an enduring effect without an aftercare program. This is especially true with respect to boot camps, which produce high levels of motivation and energy. If these are not constructively channeled following release, the result is likely to be a more effective, rather than a reformed, offender. Nothing in the discussion suggested that boot camps are necessarily a bad idea. However, the discussion highlighted the need to allow latitude for innovations to reduce recidivism or costs per inmate and for fine tuning to avoid the costly pitfalls of net-widening or net-tightening, and most importantly, to produce a a well-crafted follow-up program. Targeting Gang Leaders Some task force members called for priority—in policing, prosecution, and sentences to imprisonment—for gang leaders. Again, however, the discussion revealed the need to allow for local variation. Gangs are thought to be an important source of violence in some cities, although not in others. Although imprisoning gang leaders may hamper their recruitment of new members, it may fail to interdict violent gang activity. Some participants reported success in reorienting the organizational skills of gang leaders rather than removing those skills from the
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference community. For example, a successful 25-year-old community service and violence prevention organization represented at the conference was organized by former gang leaders and continues to draw young people out of gangs and into constructive community service. Finally, some participants expressed concern about the "networking" opportunities offered by prisons as gang leaders extend their spheres of influence by negotiating interlocking agreements with other gangs. "If you put enough of these guys in prison, you've got an executive retreat," explained one participant. Objective 2: Mobilize neighborhoods to cooperate with police in violence prevention. All five task forces urged that public recognition of the violence crisis in Cornet City and in real cities nationwide serve as a signal to begin a sustained process of building or rebuilding the will and the institutions needed for cooperation among community residents, law enforcement, juvenile and criminal justice, and other public agencies. This will require both the fostering of community-based institutions and a sustained effort by the criminal justice system—and by the police in particular—to build relationships of trust and confidence. Habits of distrust and fear built up over generations will not be easily or quickly overcome. Yet without community confidence in the integrity of the police and criminal justice systems, the barriers of silence that protect criminal elements within the community will not be overcome. Specifically, participants recommended the following initiatives: a series of community meetings between police and residents; police-community collaboration in identifying "hot spots" for violence, diagnosing the underlying problems, and solving those problems; police assistance to the community in reclaiming public spaces from people who create social disorder and violence; and the establishment of permanent community policing programs. Initiating Community Meetings All the task forces recommended that whenever violence is declared "out of control" in some neighborhood, the initial police response should include an open meeting for neighborhood residents with police department representatives at all levels, from the chief to the neighborhood patrol officers. Although the agenda and tone of the first meeting will vary from one community to another, conference participants' experience suggest that the first meeting should usually accomplish a few standard objectives: Give residents a chance to "vent" about such matters as police
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference inability to protect them, overly aggressive police responses, or suspected police corruption—even when the concerns may appear inconsistent with one another. Let residents know that police empathize with community frustration, recognize a shared responsibility for accomplishing shared priorities, and need the community's help. Begin developing a broad agenda of community problems to be solved together. Identify at least two measurable, quickly achievable tasks, one to be accomplished by the community and one by the police. Communicate a sense of continuity by introducing the chief's personal representative for follow-up contact and by setting the date and time of the next meeting. Two kinds of objectives that may surface at the initial community meeting are to clean up a hot spot for violence or to reclaim a public space for public use. Finding and Fixing Violence Hot Spots One task force advised Cornet City's mayor to issue the following order to the police chief: Within two weeks, produce a list of locations in Cornet City where the patterns and concentration of police calls, ambulance responses, community perceptions, and other indicators suggest high risk of violence occurring. Prepare plans for addressing the underlying problems at those locations, whether they be the most dangerous bars, the most virulent open-air drug markets, or particular addresses, telephone locations, intersections, or cash teller machines where the distinguishing features are less apparent. Plans to correct the 20 top hot spots of this kind are to be drawn up with, and implemented with, neighboring residents, merchants, schools, churches, and the rest of the community where that is possible. And we expect it to be possible more often than not. This recommendation drew on criminologists' and epidemiologists' findings in several cities that a handful of places often accounts for a significant share of a city's total amount of some crime type. By treating the stream of crimes as a symptom of one underlying problem in need of repair rather than as a series of unrelated demands for traditional police responses, officers, property owners, and other residents have devised creative, effective solutions, such as special lighting in convenience store parking lots or checkpoints around bars at closing time that interdict both drunk drivers and illegal weapons. The recommendation's emphasis on involving the community in clean
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference ing up hot spots adds two benefits. First, local residents may have or insights that create a more effective solution than a police officer or other "outsider" could create alone. Second, the experience of rapid, visible success through collaboration with the police in solving a community problem begins to break down local skepticism about the police and to set the stage for future cooperation. Two task forces recommended applying the hot-spot approach beyond the crimes for which it has been applied to date—robberies, barroom assaults, and drug market violence. One called for cleaning up hot spots around schools and on heavily traveled routes to and from schools. Asking students where they feel most frightened of violence, then eliminating the threats in those places, might have the side benefit of reducing the fear that drives some children to carry guns to school. Another task force, noting that spouse assaults are among the crimes with the highest rates of recidivism, called for collaboration between family physicians, hospital emergency departments, social service agencies, and police to find and assist families whose homes are potential hot spots for domestic violence. Reclaiming Public Spaces Four of the five task forces recommended tactics for reclaiming public spaces in which signs of physical or social disorder discourage public use. Physical disorder is sometimes characterized as "broken windows," but it includes vacant unkempt lots, abandoned buildings, and informal graveyards for junked cars. Social disorder includes not only illegal behavior, such as open-air drug markets, but also nonviolent disorderly behavior, such as groups of young men insulting or threatening passers-by, public drinking, and other behaviors that make people feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Social disorder occasionally erupts into violence. More commonly, however, social and physical disorder promotes violence through longer term processes. Law-abiding people begin avoiding the "bad" area, wiping out the social networks through which neighbors watch out for one another, keep a watchful but friendly eye on neighborhood children, and generally set a neighborhood tone that discourages crime and violence. Businesses close, removing employment opportunities. Physical deterioration, especially of housing stock, increases the despair and powerlessness felt by residents of these areas, which are also menaced by violence. Conference participants pointed to examples in which these processes had created social and economic vacuums into which violence-prone gangs or illegal markets had spread. Participants also suggested a wealth of tactics that they or others had
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference travel between school and home while older, stronger children, including school bullies, are expected to be in class; "Safe Havens," places in which children, their families, teachers, and supportive residents (such as mentors, service providers, members of the business community) feel safe to give and receive services and support, beyond traditional school hours; peer mediation programs for students and training for parents in mediating family disputes; a K-12 curriculum to teach children nonviolent conflict resolution skills (New York City's Resolving Confict Creatively Program was suggested as one model, but programs are more likely to succeed if they are tailored to local conditions); recreational opportunities such as midnight basketball, to give teenagers alternatives to hanging out on the streets; programs for training and supervising interested high school seniors in tutoring younger students, as a constructive activity for the tutors and a means of preventing early-grade school failure; and space at which day care could be provided, by trained staff assisted by neighborhood volunteers, to the children of students and other neighborhood children. There was a belief that this list is only a beginning—that success by full-service schools in delivering a few of these programs would prompt suggestions from neighborhoods for a wealth of additional services that would benefit children, families, and therefore, the whole community. Developing Other Community Services Beyond the reach of child protective services and full-service schools, the task forces recommended other programs and services that the mayor of Cornet City should consider for helping children and families prevent violence: alternative schools, beginning at the elementary level, staffed by teachers and professional counselors with specialized knowledge of children with behavior problems, using Americans with Disabilities Act funds to support services for children whose problems stem from cognitive or communicative disorders; youth aid panels following the Philadelphia model, in which a citizen board is set up to identify youths whose behaviors are problematic for the community but do not warrant criminal justice action, to recommend community service restitution and monitor the youths' performance;
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference programs for gang youth and ''wannabes," to deal with fear, loneliness, boredom, and other problems that encourage youths to join gangs; linking children who witness violence on the street and in the home to emergency and rehabilitative mental health services; and fostering the development of day care partnerships, involving willing neighbors as much as possible, as a means of supervising children while single parents are at work. One more category of recommended supports for children, intended to help them make the transition from school to work, is discussed under Objective 6, along with other investments in human capital. Objective 5: Reduce violence in the home, which is both a problem initself and contributes to violence on the streets. The support systems discussed above for children and their families should help to prevent violence in the home by reducing well-known risk factors, including family members' anger and depression, stresses that weigh especially heavily on single-parent families; alcohol and illegal drug abuse; social isolation; and family disorganization that tends to accompany poverty. However, recognizing the importance of violence in the home as both a problem in itself and a contributing factor to future violent behavior by children, several task forces called for programs intended specifically either to prevent family violence or to detect it and respond when it does occur. Nurses' home visits, already recommended, were cited as a promising approach to preventing violence in homes, at least in the short term. Other recommended strategies rest on the repetitive nature of violent attacks on family members. Because family violence is among the most recidivistic of all violence, detecting one incident usually offers an opportunity to prevent future incidents involving the same individuals. Therefore, the task forces called for two immediate steps to detect and interrupt chronic family violence. First, analyze all domestic violence police calls received in the past 6 months, identify high-risk homes where the pattern suggests continuing and escalating violence presents an imminent risk, develop a plan tailored to specific conditions in each high-risk home, and carry out the plan—an extension of the hot spot concept to family violence. Second, secure from the Housing Department as much temporary shelter as is needed to provide safe havens for women and children at imminent risk of battering. Although these were seen as useful immediate steps, the task forces put a high priority on creating a permanent referral system, which, it was believed, could be put in place within a few months as part of a three-part short-term agenda. First, set up a centralized Family Violence Referral
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference Network—a referral network through which police officers, health care providers, teachers, social workers, pastors, advocates, neighbors, and others who find women and children in danger of battering can refer them to a system of safe shelters in convenient but concealed locations, designed and planned to make them as inviting and simple to use as possible. Second, analyze available data on compliance with protection orders and, if necessary, develop or revise operating procedures for monitoring compliance. Third, train medical and social services and hospital emergency departments to recognize, treat, and report suspected violence against adult and child family members. Participants recognized that these measures will not succeed in preventing all family violence. Therefore, one task force called for criminal justice sanctions to punish batterers with sanctions that were firm yet tailored to solve specific family problems. The first recommendation was to create a "domestic violence protocol" that contemplates any of the following sanctions when they seem useful and appropriate: issuance and enforcement of restraining orders, obtaining safe havens and psychological services for victims, providing to perpetrators anger management training and substance abuse treatment when those appear useful, and sentencing perpetrators to prison when that appears useful. The second recommendation was to create a Domestic Violence Court dedicated to cases of violence in homes and authorized to implement the domestic violence protocol and monitor and enforce compliance. Objective 6: Rebuild human and financial capital in communities weakened by violence. Despite widespread agreement on the importance of violence prevention, conference participants repeatedly expressed concern that preventive resources in high-risk urban neighborhoods would eventually be overwhelmed unless the young men living there became better connected to the mainstream economy. As one mayor put it: [Current conditions] feed just the opposite of the principle that the benefits of working have to exceed the benefits of crime … There is no functioning economic market place in the conventional sense in most of our tougher neighborhoods. It doesn't work if we think that somehow we can change people's behavior [without one]. They are rational folks, and they understand this mix. Another mayor emphasized the circular connections between economic opportunities, the criminal justice system, preventive interventions, and violence: We are spending a lot of money—not as much as we should but a lot of
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference money—to invest in community development: housing and economic commercial development. And yet we buttress the money that goes into development with virtually nothing in terms of law enforcement…[not just adding] police, but things like Town Watch, intervention groups, and other things that do have an impact… But … it all comes down to one thing. I think we are kidding ourselves if we talk about all of the things that we've just talked about, including stronger law enforcement, if we don't talk about job opportunities. We could have the best schools, … the best training, … [but] unless you can redirect job opportunities to where the people at risk live in this country, we're out of luck. We're going to change nothing. We can have the best health system, … we can have peer mediation, … but unless you give us the ability to have job opportunities for people as they come through the school system [and] get into the job market, it is not going to matter. The task force recommendations for connecting young community residents to job markets fell into three categories: increasing human capital, the personal skills needed in the legitimate economy; linking individuals to appropriate existing opportunities; and increasing the financial capital needed to expand employment opportunities in minority neighborhoods. Participants believed that it is essential to begin work simultaneously on all three categories. Young people lack incentive to increase their skills if they expect those skills to go unrewarded. And the skills will go unrewarded if fear of violence discourages entrepreneurs from expanding opportunities in the neighborhoods where low-income minorities live. Increasing Human Capital The full-service schools and alternative schools described above contained a number of features that would increase children's capacities to participate in the legitimate economy. In addition, the task forces called for four less global initiatives: expand programs modeled after "I Have a Dream," but broadened to offer financial incentives for high-school students to pursue either specialized vocational training or college-level academic work after graduating from high school; enrich school programs for high-risk youth, especially by updating vocational education course offerings, to develop skills needed to enter the modern work force; develop programs modeled after Boston's City Year and Harlem's Youth Build, local service program models that give youth needed skills and engage them in a year of community service; and develop systems for identifying and serving youth and young adults
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference under juvenile or criminal justice system supervision who need help with reading deficiencies, alcohol or drug dependence, poor life-management skills, or other obstacles to employment. Linking Individuals to Opportunities Several task forces recognized that some young minority men are unemployed not because of inadequate skills or lack of opportunities, but because of barriers, including discrimination and lack of information, that keep them from being linked to those opportunities. Their recommendations for removing these barriers included: use the mayor's "bully pulpit," the urgency of the violence crisis, community action, and financial incentives to promote nondiscriminatory hiring practices and to encourage the hiring of minority youth; subsidize corporations for training new employees from high-violence neighborhoods in job- or employer-specific skills—perhaps working through the local Private Industry Council and tapping Job Training Partnership Act funds; and promote business/school partnerships. Programs such as the "Pathways to Success" have shown considerable success in motivating children to remain in school and facilitating their transition from school to work—while indirectly combating the problems of idleness and hopelessness. This type of program is an American variant of the successful German apprenticeship programs described in Losing Generations. In such programs, the business community offers summer jobs and one-on-one mentoring apprenticeships to teach useful skills (both job-specific and pertaining to the general world of work) to expose children to productive role models, and, it is hoped, to counteract negative stereotypes that employers may have of minority youth. Schools participate by teaching necessary skills and facilitating access to the internships or apprenticeships. To motivate participation, the youths are guaranteed part-time and summer employment so long as they remain in school and meet academic performance requirements. The juvenile justice system could also participate by channeling selected delinquents into the program. "Pathways to Success" would also incorporate some features of "Adopt-A-School" programs, such as employee leave time for in-school mentoring, youth training in entrepreneurial skills, donations of used computers, and other aids to improve the employment prospects of minority youth.
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference Increasing Financial Capital in Minority Neighborhoods Conference participants recognized the importance of creating jobs in cities. As one mayor put it: In the cities, [we don't need] the employment playing field to be leveled. We need the employment field, which is now tilted radically against us, to be tilted radically for us. Several participants seemed skeptical, however, about traditional methods of accomplishing the tilt. They recognized that the increasing concentration of voters in suburbs had dimmed the prospects of major infusions of federal money into cities. For two reasons, they doubted that tax subsidies for locating enterprises in targeted high-risk neighborhoods would create jobs there: fear of violence was thought likely to neutralize the effect of any tax incentive, and recent research findings suggest that even when firms are drawn to minority communities by tax incentives, they hire local residents only when required to do so. Several task force members lamented the lack of business community representation at the conference, thinking that members of that community might have produced creative ideas for attracting financial capital to Cornet City and its high-violence Southwood neighborhood. Nevertheless, those present suggested several tactics: monitor compliance by banks and other lenders with Community Reinvestment Act requirements for investing in inner cities; create a Community Development Corporation (CDC) to consolidate available investment funds and invest them in promising new ventures that would employ local residents; promote economic activity that connects youth to the labor market—for example, a local housing rehabilitation program that employs local youth— perhaps as a public-private venture, a CDC venture, a Youth Corps project, or an initiative supported by the Commission on National and Community Service; form an Industry Council to produce and carry out a long-term economic development plan, as a way to increase the local tax base and revenues available for antiviolence programs and to produce decent jobs that will strengthen families and neighborhoods while providing good role models for youth; and broaden contracting opportunities for minorities. One scenario was suggested for the third tactic, promoting economic activity in Cornet City. The first step was to seek federal funds, free from overly inhibiting regulations, with which to create businesses that would employ large numbers of teenagers at public works projects. Later, the city
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference could lobby for legislation requiring state agencies to buy maintenance, painting, and other services from these special enterprises—knowing that city subsidies will be needed to close the productivity gap between them and their experienced competitors, but recognizing that the city may reduce its future violence costs by providing labor market experience to its youth. One participant wondered whether a federally seeded State Revolving Loan Fund, or special incentives to pension funds, might encourage the initial investments needed to launch special enterprises. Two mayors pointed out "zero-cost" ways that the federal government could create jobs for residents of minority communities. One way is to locate new federal facilities in urban areas, which would provide job opportunities; the mayor noted that compliance with an executive order of the Carter administration would accomplish this at no cost because the funds were to be spent anyway. The second mayor noted that Clinton administration plans call for tax subsidies to firms that locate new facilities in enterprise communities and empowerment zones, provided that 50 percent of new employees live in the zone and that one-third of them have been previously unemployed. He recommended an additional step for increasing the impact of the zones: [Require that] 10 percent of all federal procurement must come from firms within enterprise zones … Businesses would be stampeding to get into those zones because there is nothing like federal procurement. We can tag in city procurement … and maybe state procurement. Another participant reminded the group that while the procurement suggestion had merit, it would probably not be totally free because subsidies might be required to cover the productivity gap between zone enterprises and firms that produce the same goods now. Another mayor talked more broadly about federal policies that affect urban economic development. In his words: You should stop forcing capital into the high end of the housing industry. The federal tax law does that. We're the only country in the world with "master bathrooms." Because of the [mortgage interest write-off with no cap], you have these huge houses being built, and increasing percentages of the investment in housing are going into fewer and fewer houses at the high end of the market. You might want to talk to Canada about that. They have a tax system that is neutral across [all levels] of housing. The other thing I wanted to mention is … the tremendous damage that was done by the federal government over the last four decades in encouraging the ripping out of transit systems and building these huge Autobahns—even Hitler didn't put Autobahns in the middle of cities! That only happened here. I think that … this administration understands this enough to do … what is right for cities. A transit system as extensive and wonderful as Philadelphia's … would really do a lot to centralize the
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference economy and provide jobs in the middle, where people who need them the most can get at them. Noting that these are only two examples of federal programs that have had unintended adverse consequences on urban communities, one conference participant suggested that a requirement for "community impact statements" analagous to environmental impact statements might help prevent future damage. Objective 7: Promote a prosocial, less violent culture. There was a pervasive sentiment among conference participants that a "violent culture" promotes violent behavior, especially among young people. A principal goal voiced by all conference participants is changing community norms that accept or promote violence. Unfortunately, two institutions with a powerful influence on culture—religion and the entertainment media—were unrepresented at the conference. Therefore, discussions about how to accomplish the goal were abbreviated. Conference participants including researchers were uncertain about both the mechanisms through which cultural influences promote violence and how to change the nature of these influences. Furthermore, they recognized the fundamental importance of constitutional limits on state power to promote religion or regulate media content. Nevertheless, one task force recommended long-term steps the federal government might take to reduce violence-promoting effects of the entertainment media and to use the media in campaigns to discourage violence: consider the level of violence-promoting material, and citizen complaints about such material, in processing applications for broadcast license renewal; develop voluntary partnerships with the media to engage in more vigorous and proactive violence- public service campaigns, and sponsor randomized trials to evaluate the effectiveness of such campaigns in different communities and geographic regions; and sponsor the development of media literacy programs that teach children to question violent entertainment material. In addition, several task forces called for immediate steps by the mayor of Cornet City and other local officials to encourage religious organizations, entertainment media, and other cultural institutions to assume voluntarily their shares of responsibility for preventing violence: use the "bully pulpit" of public office to charge all elements of the community with the mission of violence prevention; discourage public and private actions that aggravate ethnic tensions or promote negative, violent stereotypes; enlist celebrities in voluntary antiviolence campaigns; and encourage the media to publicize early successes in responding to violence.
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference Using the "Bully Pulpit" As a follow-up to declaring Cornet City's violence out of control, one task force urged its mayor immediately and publicly to charge the entire community with moral responsibility for preventing violence, using whatever resources they possess. That task force challenge used the following words: Official agencies will have a lot to do in implementing the Antiviolence and Violence Prevention Program, but it is critical that Cornet City be reminded powerfully of the central roles that will never be performed by [government]: the actual rearing and protecting of children, the instilling of values that support health and personal safety, and the passing on of a commitment to (and knowledge about) nonviolent ways of handling anger and conflict. These [roles] are to be attended to by families, however defined; by churches; by neighborhoods; and by the [institutions] whose support, guidance, and discipline sustain them. Mr. Mayor, we encourage you to charge them as well. Press pastors to open their churches to new uses that permit formation of new supports for struggling single parents: respite centers for beleaguered single parents, hot meals to draw families together [to hear offers of support services of various kinds, such as] training in management of households, conflict resolution, discipline, and child development. Press for churches, schools, and any other plausible facility to establish voluntary respite centers, to which parents can go for a spell when they fear losing control of their children (or their temper), and where they can expect to find other parents or volunteer "godmothers" and "godfathers" from whom to seek advice, with whom to share the burdens, or with whom to leave their children for an hour. Call for families to have weekly meetings to work through the risks of violence (or becoming violent) that they face in the family, in the neighborhood, at school. You probably won't get laughed at, you'll go some distance in reminding people of their own roles and responsibilities, and maybe there will be less carnage on Family Meeting nights. Call for businesses and city agencies to provide as an employee benefit training in parenting and household management for employees from the time of pregnancy. Call for businesses to offer employees two hours a week to volunteer to work with youth, and prepare the Department of Parks and Recreation to organize volunteer opportunities. Other city agencies, too. Press adults to look out for their neighbors' children, and to take some responsibility to help and—yes, interfere, if that's the word—when an unsupervised child (yes, a teenager, too) is putting himself or herself at risk. Variants of this message can be delivered by elected officials at all
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference levels of government and of all political stripes. Like all political messages, the credibility and effectiveness of this one depends on strategic selection of audiences, places, and methods of delivery. Increasing Sensitivity to Negative Stereotypes One task force recommended that Cornet City's mayor take two actions to reduce the violence-promoting effects of negative stereotypes of young minority males: sensitize government press officers and other staff to actions—speech mannerisms, treatment of city agency clients, for example—that may aggravate ethnic tensions or promote stereotypes of young minority men as people to be feared, and call on the community to take actions against billboards, movies, concerts, and other vehicles that portray violence, underage drinking, and related negative behaviors by young minority men as "cool," "macho," or justified by oppression. These recommendations reflected two concerns: first, that violence, and its uneven distribution across society, feeds a stereotype of young minority men as people to be feared rather than led into adult society and charged with adult responsibilities; and, second, that the stereotype itself promotes violence in two ways. Some young African-American and Latino men may limit their own legitimate economic opportunities after learning that a menacing demeanor and willingness to use violence offer "power" while academic, vocational, and social skills are "white" and useless for minorities trying to get ahead. At the same time, whites for whom the menacing stereotypes justify discrimination in hiring make the media portrayals a reality by driving young minority men, regardless of skill level, out of the mainstream economy into illegal markets that reward their abilities to threaten and use violence. Enlisting Celebrities in Antiviolence Campaigns Beyond reducing antisocial messages and negative stereotypes, interest was expressed in ways to enlist celebrities and advertisers, voluntarily yet quickly, in emergency responses to "out-of-control" violence. Advertisers of popular brands of tennis shoes and other items that occasionally become objects of violence can be encouraged to sponsor high-profile, prime-time public service ads against violence, starring their celebrity endorsers. The "We Are the World" approach, involving extraordinary collaboration and a spiritual context, was mentioned as potentially useful. Locally, athletes and other community heroes can make personal appearances and pleas to abandon violence. Some participants cautioned that such campaigns could backfire without careful matching of celebrities, messages, and audiences. As one per-
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Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response - Summary of a Conference son put it: "If the plan is for Pat to make speeches against urban violence, you better make sure that Ewing, Moynihan, and Robertson get to the right auditoriums." Publicizing Successes Concern was expressed that two kinds of successes may be underreported in news media. First, some community-based efforts are succeeding in reducing violence in their communities: publicity about such successes rewards the efforts of those responsible; it may also encourage other readers to become involved. Publicity about activities and successes will be especially important in the first days and weeks after official recognition of a violence "crisis." Second, some participants expressed a sense that "bad" statistical news about violence receives more media attention than "good" news, thereby increasing harmful fear and despair over violence. For example, it is unlikely that many people realize that the national murder rate dropped by about 5 percent between 1991 and 1992 or that the murder arrest rate for black males aged 25 and older had been nearly halved since the early 1980s. Although public officials have no direct control over media content, one task force recommended that Cornet City's mayor use personal appearances at scenes of successes, background briefings, and press conferences to publicize local success stories, to publicly recognize the leaders responsible, and to highlight encouraging statistical trends in violence.
Representative terms from entire chapter: