Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Youth Violence Prevention

Youth violence is one of most serious problems we face in Minneapolis. Murder is the number one cause of death for our 15-24 year olds and just this morning another 24 year-old fell victim to another shooting death.

Working to stop the disturbing and persistent increase in youth violence in our City is, in my opinion, one of the most important things that we can do as a community and as policymakers in City Hall. Today I think we took a significant step forward.

The Youth Violence Prevention resolution that I've been working on for weeks passed the Council unanimously today. I encourage you to read the full resolution (here) - it presents a powerful rationale for why we ought to view this as a public health crisis and spells out a framework for developing a muti-year, muti-faceted strategic plan to dramatically reduce youth violence in Minneapolis.

The resolution redefines youth violence as a public health problem, rather than just a public safety and criminal justice problem. This new focus will help us better direct resources towards prevention before violence takes place, rather than just punishment afterwards. The public health model will help us use research-based approaches to identify risk factors and target prevention and intervention strategies where they will be most effective. Through this model, we will be better able to measure the outcomes of our investments, and see whether the dollars we spend are making progress in reducing youth violence.

The resolution also creates a Steering Committee which will draft the plan, identify funding sources, coordinate City and County efforts and facilitate cross-community partnerships and communication among stakeholders, including police, corrections, parole officers, parks, schools, churches, nonprofits, community activists and others.

I believe that this is a major accomplishment, and a significant step towards reducing violence overall and addressing this crisis in our City.


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