US Attorney General Holder lauds Minneapolis’ youth violence prevention initiative

United States Attorney General Eric Holder and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, joined United States Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, on Friday, May 27 to celebrate the positive results of Minneapolis comprehensive Youth Violence Prevention initiative. The Blueprint for Action Youth Violence Prevention Conference, co-sponsored by the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Foundation, reviewed the successes of the initiative which began in 2008 and is an ongoing, multi-year collaboration in 22 Minneapolis neighborhoods that treats youth violence as a public-health epidemic that requires a holistic, multi-faceted response.

Attorney General Holder observed that the "great strength" of Minneapolis approach is that it recognizes that violence among and directed toward young people is not only a public-safety issue its also a public- health issue. And it demands a public-health response."

The Youth Violence Prevention initiative began as a response to a spike in violent crime in Minneapolis in 2005-06 that data revealed was driven by violence by and against youth. That comprehensive, collaborative, public-health approach has led to safer youth and a safer community. Since 2006, the number of youth arrested for or suspected in violent crime has dropped 56%. In the same period, the number of incidents involving guns and youth has dropped 58%.

The decrease in youth violence has driven a sharp decline in overall crime rates in Minneapolis. In 2010, citywide violent crime in Minneapolis fell to a 28-year low. In addition, in 2011 so far, violent crime in Minneapolis has fallen 16% more compared to the same period in 2010.

The initiative is guided by the four goals of the initiatives Blueprint for Action, which are to: 1) connect every youth to a trusted adult; 2) intervene at the first sign that youth are at risk of violence; 3) restore youth who have gone down the wrong path; and 4) unlearn the culture of violence in the community.

Comprehensive efforts inspired by the Blueprint’s goals have not only cut youth violence, they have led to greater numbers of high-quality summer jobs for youth, higher graduation rates in Minneapolis Public Schools and greater numbers of graduates attending college free of charge, among other positive results.

Also participating in the conference were youth, community organizers and organizers, educators, faith leaders, public-health professionals and law-enforcement professionals, among others. The conference was organized as an opportunity for youth, community members and policy makers to assess results and challenges going forward — and above all, to listen to and learn from each other.

Selected results of the Blueprint for Action: Preventing Youth Violence in Minneapolis:

Selection of Youth Violence Prevention tools in Minneapolis:

Visit Youth Violence Prevention for complete information on Minneapolis’ youth violence prevention initiative.

Published May. 27, 2011