Minneapolis makes progress on preventing youth violence, calls for national crime agenda
Rybak, Ellison co-host public forum in North Minneapolis
May 1, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) At a public forum held today, community leaders reported on progress being made to reduce youth violence in Minneapolis and called for federal action to support the fight against juvenile crime. The forum was co-hosted by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison to look at how Minneapolis’ Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence has helped reduce violent crime and homicides involving youth.
"Minneapolis is seeing a dramatic drop in juvenile crime following a coordinated effort to respond to youth violence. We’ve done this with tough enforcement, but also by working to get at the core issues behind youth violence by seeing it as a preventable health issue," Mayor R.T. Rybak said.
"Protecting our kids from falling into the trap of youth violence should be our number one priority. I welcome the opportunity to hear from so many of our communities’ leaders who share my concern," Congressman Ellison said.
Reporting Progress on the Minneapolis Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence
In January 2008, Mayor Rybak launched the Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence, a multi-faceted, multi-year action plan to attack the core issues behind the violence being inflicted on and by too many young people in Minneapolis. The Blueprint views youth violence as a public health epidemic which can be prevented. In the year since launching this effort, progress has been made on all 34 action items in the Blueprint and youth violence has fallen by double-digits. Dozens of action items have been advanced since the Blueprint was launched, including:
- The City of Minneapolis and several community organizations such as Boulder Options, Kinship, the Division of Indian Work and the Mentoring Partnership have recruited mentors for hundreds of Minneapolis youth. Mentors help youth set academic, athletic and personal goals, as well as improve their school success and healthy habits.
- The City of Minneapolis will employ 2,350 young people this summer, including 500 more youth than last year who will have jobs funded by the federal economic Recovery Act.
- Over the summer and fall of 2008, the City of Minneapolis provided more than $514,000 in grants to 12 community organizations working directly with youth at risk for violence or harmful behavior to keep them on the right path.
- The Minneapolis Police Department last year began providing safety and youth outreach services in Minneapolis public schools, better connecting schools with city anti-crime efforts.
- Patrick Henry High School is working with the MN State Bar Association to launch a youth peer mediation program to help youth solve conflicts peacefully.
- The Minnesota Visiting Nurses Association provided nearly twice as many public health nurse visits to teen mothers in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to 2007. These visits help young mothers care for their children and stay in school.
- The Minneapolis Public Schools has created a youth violence prevention task force to coordinate its violence prevention strategies and activities with the City of Minneapolis’ Blueprint for Action activities.
Juvenile violent crime in Minneapolis fell 29% in 2008 compared to 2007. Over the last two years, juvenile violent crime in Minneapolis has dropped 37%. Most importantly, in the City’s 4th police precinct, which includes many of the neighborhoods hardest hit by youth violence, juvenile violent crime fell 39% in 2008 when compared to 2007 and 43% compared to 2006.
"Our primary goal is zero youth homicides and we will not rest until that happens. We need everyone in this community to understand that youth violence affects each of us and each of us has a role to play to keep our children and youth safe," Mayor Rybak said.
Mayor Rybak said that he hopes the City’s Blueprint can be adapted for use in other communities around the country and he looks forward to working with Rep. Ellison to explore a more active role for the federal government to play in partnering with localities on youth violence prevention.
"I commend the Mayor and all of our community leaders for their vision and commitment to ending youth violence. I welcome the recommendations we will develop, and look forward to working on any federal action needed to support them," Congressman Ellison concluded.
For more information about the Minneapolis Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence, visit Youth Violence Prevention.
Published May. 1, 2009