Mayor Rybak heralds new state law to prevent youth violence
Minneapolis is a model for communities tackling juvenile crime
July 22, 2009 (MINNEAPOLIS) Minnesota communities tackling youth violence will have more help from the State of Minnesota as the result of a new state law set to go into effect August 1. Support for the new law grew out of a successful effort in Minneapolis to reduce youth violence.
A new law adopted by the state legislature and signed by Governor Pawlenty this past legislative session calls on the State to work in partnership with local communities throughout Minnesota to develop community-based violence prevention programs and also help identify public and private funding for proven effective initiatives to prevent youth violence. Five pilot communities around the state, including in Minneapolis, will initially be identified for these programs.
The legislation was the result of more than two years of effort by a coalition of community groups from north Minneapolis who wanted the State to play a larger role in preventing youth violence and knew that they had valuable lessons to share with other parts of Minnesota. The legislation was co-authored by State Senator John Marty (D-Roseville) and State Representative Paul Thissen (D-Minneapolis).
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today joined Sen. Marty, Rep. Thissen and community leaders from urban and rural Minnesota to celebrate the new legislation in hopes that communities across the state can work together to keep kids safer and see results similar to Minneapolis.
"Minneapolis has seen a dramatic drop in juvenile crime following a coordinated effort that grew out of the community. Weve lowered youth violence with tough enforcement, but also by working to upstream and looking at violence as a preventable health issue," Mayor R.T. Rybak said. "We hope that Minneapolis’ Blueprint can be adapted for use in other communities around Minnesota and we look forward to working state leaders to explore a more active role for the state government to play in partnering with localities on youth violence prevention."
"Youth violence should not be viewed as a problem of individual failure but rather as an issue that needs significant community support," said State Rep. Paul Thissen. "Looking at youth violence through a public health lens leads us to solutions that we might not otherwise arrive at, and this legislation will enable five Minnesota communities to adapt proven strategies to meet the needs of the youth in their neighborhoods. I was proud to carry this bill in the Minnesota House because it takes a holistic, strengths and community-based approach to preventing youth violence. I believe it holds significant promise for improving the lives of youth throughout the state."
"This legislation lays the groundwork for viewing youth violence as a public health issue," said State Sen. John Marty. "Violence has a severe impact on the health and well-being of young Minnesotans, and it requires a comprehensive, collaborative approach to address the roots of the problem."
Representatives of the Crow Wing County Youth Wellness Project have already begun developing a community-based youth violence prevention plan based on the Minneapolis effort.
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. The Blueprint views youth violence as a public health epidemic which can be prevented. In the 18 months since launching this effort, progress has been made on all 34 action items in the Blueprint and youth violence has fallen by double-digits.
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 Citys 4 th 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.
For more information about the Minneapolis Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence, visit Youth Violence Prevention.
# # #
Published Jul. 22, 2009