City of Minneapolis’ Youth Violence Prevention Plan
Violence involving young people is a critical issue for the City of Minneapolis. From 2002 to 2011, homicide was the leading cause of death among Minneapolis residents age 15-24 years, accounting for 39% of deaths in this age group. In 2011, gun-related assault injury rates were 50% higher among juveniles and 60% higher among 18-24-year-olds compared with a decade ago. The negative repercussions of such violence affect entire communities and reverberate throughout the city.
The rise in violent crime involving youth was the impetus for the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Foundation to launch a citywide effort to reduce youth violence in 2007. The first Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence was subsequently introduced in 2008. The plan represented a public health approach to the issue and included perspectives from law enforcement, juvenile supervision, public health, youth programs, education, social services, faith communities, neighborhoods, city and county government, and youth, and provided a platform for collaboration, planning, resource allocation and strategic decision making.
In conjunction with guidance from the Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee, the Minneapolis Health Department coordinates the efforts of many partners, including the Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Hennepin County, and community-based youth-serving organizations. During the past five years, Minneapolis has seen significant progress in the galvanization of these stakeholders and the development of new and enhanced activities to reduce youth violence.
In 2012, Minneapolis was invited to join the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The Forum’s strategic planning process provided the framework for engaging community partners, collecting and sharing relevant data and information, and revising the Blueprint. Community dialogues and a Plan Development Workgroup provided extensive input to shape the revised strategic plan. The 2013 Blueprint sets forth five goals:
- Foster violence-free social environments.
- Promote positive opportunities and connections to trusted adults for all youth.
- Intervene with youth and families at the first sign of risk.
- Restore youth who have gone down the wrong path.
- Protect children and youth from violence in the community.
The Blueprint is a community-driven, grassroots response to the issue of youth violence. The goals are a framework under which many programs, services, and efforts coalesce. This collaborative, multi-level approach integrates programming that is designed to serve diverse populations. The Blueprint includes a list of existing and new activities informed by public health principles and aligned with the National Forum framework of prevention, early intervention, re-entry and reinforcement.
In order to evaluate the success of the Blueprint, performance measures are aligned with objectives under each goal. In addition, the City tracks a broad range of indicators, including the number of youth homicides, youth involved in violent crimes, and youth assault-related injuries.
The ultimate success of this revised Blueprint is reliant on community stakeholders remaining a part of the process. Tremendous efforts are taking place throughout Minneapolis, and the Blueprint plays an important role in weaving together the broad network of stakeholders and committed parties working together toward one common goal: the eradication of youth violence.