OJJDP's Gang Reduction Program (GRP) is yielding positive results in reducing gang activity by implementing OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model in troubled neighborhoods.
The Urban Institute is finalizing an evaluation that examines GRP for the initial pilot period of spring 2003 to mid-to-late 2007 in four areas with reported gang activity: Los Angeles, CA; North Miami Beach, FL; Milwaukee, WI; and Richmond, VA. OJJDP awarded each site $2.5 million to implement the model. All of the program sites are still in operation except for Milwaukee.
Evaluators deduce that the GRP was more successful in Los Angeles because the service providers and neighborhood partners in the target area already were committed to addressing gang and violent crime issues. Plus, many of the partners had previously collaborated to address the gang issues, and the Los Angeles Police Department had an established gang-suppression effort that was expanded to the GRP area.
In Richmond, decreases in violent crime activity were recorded despite an initial crime increase that began at the program's initiation. The implementation of the plan involved the mobilization and cooperation of over 50 faith-based and community-based programs. Additional police patrols were added which contributed to a significant decrease in crime during the pilot period. During the funded period, Richmond dropped from the 5th most dangerous city in the Nation to the 15th, and is now ranked as the 29th.
One of the study's chief findings is that GRP's success relied on the site coordinator's leadership abilities. According to the report, there was a considerable amount of friction between committee members during the initial stages before the funding was awarded. However, collaboration improved at each test site as the program continued.
Each area was evaluated for its specific needs and then implementation plans were developed from those assessments. The implementation plan responded to the area's specific needs through a series of partnerships and collaborations of services. Each plan is site specific, and, therefore, the results are site specific also.
The Comprehensive Gang Model is outlined in the OJJDP publication Best Practices
To Address Community Gang Problems: OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model, which was released in June 2008. (For more information on Best Practices, please see "New Publications" in the July/August 2008 edition of News @ a Glance.
The final evaluation report is due to OJJDP in January 2009 from the Urban Institute. OJJDP is also producing a Bulletin for release in early 2009 to highlight the evaluation findings.