City of Camden's Youth Violence Prevention Plan
In recent years, Camden City has earned the dubious distinction of being among the most poverty-stricken and unsafe cities in the county. With violence and murder on a steady rise, a sense of despair has been cultivated among our citizens, threatening the well-being of every resident in this city and compromising the future of Camden’s youth. Camden recognizes we must break the cycle of poverty and despair — which are often the root causes of violence — by addressing the urgent public safety issues in our community through a comprehensive, full scale, long-term approach to violence prevention.
Building on the early work of the Mayor Dana Redd’s broad-based collaborative planning board, the Mayor recently established the Camden Youth Forum Task Force to engage with community members and service providers in a solution-focused, action-driven process to bring about real change for the city of Camden. With the core belief that violence is preventable, the Task Force partners worked to develop a plan for the reduction and prevention of youth violence grounded in a public health approach and within a service delivery continuum that begins with young children and continues through young adulthood.
The basis of Camden’s Youth Violence Prevention Plan is to leverage and integrate existing efforts, scale up what is working, and fill critical gaps with proven methods for addressing the serious issues that have plagued Camden for far too long. This action plan is comprised of four research-based strategies:
- The prevention strategy will promote conditions to keep youth violence and crime from happening in our city through mentorship, youth leadership and development, character education, and youth training and employment.
- The intervention strategy will target services to youth at-risk of violent crime through increased youth support services, trauma recovery, and transportation to out of school time activities.
- The enforcement strategy will create an environment that makes it difficult for criminal activity to exist and will offer programming such as community policing efforts, mentoring, quality of life sweeps, and implementation of a ceasefire model.
- The reentry strategy will ensure that all re-entry youth have a plan that includes resources and networks for job training and employment placement opportunities, family reintegration support, and physical and mental health services.
The plan involves a coordinated effort of many direct service programs and interventions, with a core focus on long-term systems change to promote better communications, informed data collection and analysis, and increased accountability across all sectors.