Creating Violence-Free, Healthy, and Prospering Communities Requires Your Voice
Youth violence destroys quality of life and decreases the freedom, health, and prosperity of individuals, families, and communities. Unaddressed youth violence and crime negatively affect our communities' physical, mental, and economic health and challenges our ability to educate, grow, and prosper.
- Youth cannot achieve their full potential if they become victims.More than 630,000 young people were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from violence in 2012,1 and these injuries often have life-long physical and emotional consequences. Homicide is the third leading cause of death of young people, with an average of 13 youth murdered every day.2
- Youth cannot grow into productive citizens and a developed workforce if unable to learn. Approximately 6% of high school students report that they did not go to school because they felt unsafe, approximately 7% say they have been threatened or injured by a weapon on school property, 12% report they have been in a physical fight at school, and approximately 20% report they have been bullied at school.3
- Crime committed by youth hurts them, makes citizens feel unsafe, and limits our business and community growth. Juveniles accounted for 16% of all violent crime arrests and 26% of all property crime arrests.4
- Costs of youth violence restrict the availability of funds to achieve community goals. The cost of arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating, and treating offenders is the fastest growing part of most state budgets and now runs into the billions of dollars per year.56 The cost of youth violence homicides and injury related assaults exceed $17 billion in medical and loss of work costs.2
Youth Violence and Crime Are Issues that Require Collaborative Action
Public safety is not a standalone problem or one sector's problem to solve. Youth violence and crime are directly tied to the economic health, quality of health, and potential growth of a community. Putting an end to youth violence requires communities to implement a range of approaches that include prevention, intervention, treatment, and re-entry strategies. These approaches require coordination and integration by diverse partners.
Effectively addressing youth violence requires partners from multiple sectors and disciplines including: justice, education, labor, social services, public health and safety, businesses, philanthropic organizations, faith-based organizations, and other youth, family, and community-serving groups. Each sector has a unique and important role to play, and ongoing dialogue to create system change across all sectors is essential to success.
Our Community Can Effectively Stop Youth Violence and Crime with Your Help
Our community has a lot of work to do, but we also have assets that will make us successful. We are a part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention that receives direct assistance from multiple federal agencies, including the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, and Labor. This support is helping us connect critical partners to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy.
We know by working together we will see improvements in youth violence, and likely other areas of concern, such as drug use and school drop-out. We know by investing in the promotion of healthy youth development and the prevention of youth violence and crime, we can prevent youth from becoming adult criminals, reduce the burden of crime on its victims and society, and save taxpayers seven to ten dollars for every dollar invested, primarily in the form of reduced spending in prisons.5
Your voice and expertise are critical to our community's success. Join us in making our community violence-free, healthy, and prosperous.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2011a. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) Nonfatal Injury Data. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/nonfatal.html
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2011b. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) Fatal Injury Data. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/results.htm
4 Puzzanchera C. 2009. Juvenile Arrests 2008. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Retreived from: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov
5 Greenwood, P. Prevention and Intervention Programs for Juvenile Offenders. Future of Children, 2008;18(2), 185-210.
6 Pew Center on the States. 2009. One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections. Retreived from: http://www.pewstates.org/research/reports/one-in-31-85899371887