Detroiters Working Together to Help Youth Succeed
The Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (DYVPI) began four (4) years ago as a priority of former Mayor Dave Bing to ensure youth have a path out of violence toward a high quality of life through education, jobs, and careers. The Initiative has been primarily supported by integrating two (2) U.S. Department of Justice grants: Capacity Building and Community Based Violence. DYVPI began with four (4) key programs that remain in existence today: Ceasefire, School Safety Stations, Safe Routes to School (SRTS), and Summer Youth Employment.
After emerging from Emergency Management, Detroit’s current Mayor Michael Duggan realized the importance of the DYVPI. Mayor Duggan and Police Chief James Craig are taking aggressive actions to enhance and expand the various DYVPI programs. As an added strategy, Chief Craig added Children in Trauma Intervention Camp (CITI Camp). The program is currently geared toward middle school students and uses police officers as teachers and mentors. Some of the key coursework includes: character building, anti-violence, safety, and healthy living programming. CITI Camp will also utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) training as a pathway out of poverty in coordination with the Summer Strategy for career-focused internships. CITI Camp also includes a family involvement component.
The current DYVPI programs are:
- Ceasefire — driving focus on preventing and reducing youth gun violence
- Safe Routes to School — coordinates community and law enforcement efforts to ensure safety of youth as they travel to and from school
- Success Centers — school-based centers that support the utilization of alternatives to suspension and positive behavior and relationship building activities
- Summer Strategy — provides mentoring, summer jobs, and career development
- CITI Camp — mentoring program for middle school students
Several additional overarching and operational goals have been identified:
- Establish measurable outcome based metric to track performance against goals
- Enhance, sustain and spread the Ceasefire program across the entire city of Detroit
- Increase integration and coordination of efforts within DYVPI and across agencies including DPD
- Transform Safety Stations into Success Centers that align with original goals
- Develop written policies, procedures and operational tools
A new cross-functional leadership team with diverse public and private sector experience is also in place. This team has conducted a comprehensive analysis of DYVPI and has prepared this document as an update to the original Strategic Plan.
Mission, Vision, and Core Values
Several aspects of the DYVPI values and guiding principles have been updated.
All Detroit youth are safe and flourish in their homes, schools and communities.
Prevent youth violence in Detroit through positive youth development and engagement.
Coordinated, integrated and holistic community efforts can significantly reduce youth violence in Detroit.
- Implement a universal prevention and intervention strategies and restorative practices that fosters a safer and improved school environment that decreases student code of conduct violence violations and reduces evidences of harassment, bullying, gang involvement and substance abuse.
- Reduce homicides, serious assaults, gun-related crimes and violence committed by and against Detroit youth.
- Provide summer employment and career readiness training to youth.
- Improve Operational efficiency and collaboration across all DYVPI program and community partnerships.
- Establish measurable outcome based metrics to track performance against goals.
- Enhance, sustain and spread all DVYPI programs across the entire city of Detroit.
- Increase integration and coordination of efforts within DYVPI within the community and across agencies including DPD to reduce violence and improve the quality of life for youth.
- Improve student safety and school attendance by making travel to and from school safer.
- Expose youth to leadership training, including violence prevention, effective project management/planning strategies, college/university visits and career exploration.
- Promote resiliency, emotional healing and healthy responses to trauma.
There are others in Detroit and nationally who fit into this work. DYVPI fills a gap in the current landscape by serving as the connective tissue which coordinates interventions across sectors and organizations.
Mayor Duggan is committed to ensuring safety and harmony is enjoyed by all citizens and visitors of Detroit and has committed considerable resources in assuring that DYVPI is successful. As an ardent supporter of DYVPI, Mayor Duggan has assigned an executive member of his cabinet to serve on the DYVPI team and meets with the Ceasefire staff 2-3 times per month. To further assure success of DYVPI, the mayor has recently assigned the reporting of its operations to the Chief of Police.
The Mayor’s office has initiated several programs that directly promote safety and success for the city’s youth. Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (summer youth employment program) fills a major gap in a city with a high unemployment rate that leaves few opportunities for youth to work. Demolishing vacant structures and increasing street lights are other City programs that promote safety.
The Detroit Police Department is integral to the functioning and success of DYVPI. DYVPI and Ceasefire staff are in constant communication and coordinate strategies together. DPD has several programs that complement DYVPI efforts such as Neighborhood Radio Patrols that assist with SRTS in keeping youth safe. The newest initiative is Green Light which provides 24 hour real-time surveillance at service stations that are known to have high levels of crime on their premises. These sites are known for drug trafficking on the premises, robberies and carjackings. This is particularly helpful because some of the problematic service stations in the pilot program are in close vicinity of our target schools. DPD also has several other programs to help young people such as Junior Cadets, Explorers and the Police Athletic League.
The law enforcement community extends across geographies and organizational boundaries. The major entities are the Detroit Police Department, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, US Attorney’s Office, Michigan State Police, and FBI. These organizations focus primarily on stopping gun violence with a particular focus on gang violence. Two signature initiatives are Ceasefire Detroit (part of the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative) as well as Detroit One, an initiative led by the US Attorney’s Office to ensure severe prosecution for the most violent individuals driving crime in the City of Detroit.
Detroit Public Schools has been under emergency management for the past 7 years and currently does not have a superintendent. We have been working very closely with the DPS Chief Innovation Officer, Lamont Satchel and Chief Strategy Officer, Roderick Brown in coordinating our programs, data collection and resources. DPS has supported DYVPI by providing additional PBIS training and support and will collaborate with DYVPI on utilizing Restorative Practices and in creating more Safe Routes to School. With the assistance of DPS Police Chief, Stacy Brackens, DPS and DPD share gang intelligence in support of Ceasefire’s gang control activities. DPSPD also assist in coordinating and patrolling SRTS.
Community and Service Organizations
The Community and Service organizations exist with many specialties across the city. There are grassroots organizations such as block clubs and neighborhood patrols. Other examples of community and service organizations include some that specialize in job placement, while others provide basic services. Some are mentor-based and others are caseworker based. Moreover, there is variation in the effectiveness of community and social service organizations across the City.
Our Ceasefire Faith-Based Coordinator leads a subcommittee for the purpose of developing and implementing both prevention and intervention strategies to support the work of Ceasefire Detroit in preventing youth violence.