The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) recently added two new Web pages to the In Focus section of its Web site to better serve and inform the juvenile justice field. The Girls' Delinquency page draws on OJJDP’s Girls Study Group and related resources to examine the nature and scope of girls’ delinquency and effective strategies to address it. The page features pertinent OJJDP-sponsored research, publications, training and technical assistance, and programs. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children page describes training and technical assistance programs, collaborative demonstration programs, and research projects that OJJDP supports to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children and assist its victims. Both pages include links to grantees' Web sites and other resources.
Reviewing Juvenile Arrest Rates, Up Slightly in 2006
A new Juvenile Justice Bulletin highlights Juvenile Arrests 2006 (PDF 522 kb), a report that characterizes the extent and nature of juvenile crime that comes to the attention of the justice system, drawing on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Among the findings reported in this OJJDP Bulletin: In 2006, the rate of juvenile arrests for Violent Crime Index offenses (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) increased 4 percent over 2005. More specifically, in 2005 and 2006, juvenile arrests for murder and robbery increased, while juvenile arrests for forcible rape and aggravated assault continued a decline begun in the mid-1990s.
Surveying Youth in Custody
The Juvenile Justice Bulletin features Introduction to the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (PDF 640 kb), the first in a series, describing the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP), which complements two other OJJDP surveys that provide statistics on youth in custody in the juvenile justice system: Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement and Juvenile Residential Facility Census. SYRP is unique in that it gathers information directly from youth about their offenses and offense histories, and their experiences in placement, through anonymous interviews. This Bulletin reviews SYRP’s background, describes its design and methodology, and discusses its strengths and limitations.
Examining Overlap of Substance Use Behaviors in Youth
Co-Occurrence of Substance Use Behaviors in Youth (PDF 291 kb) is presented in a Juvenile Justice Bulletin. It examines the prevalence and overlap of substance-related behaviors among youth, making comparisons based on age group, gender, and race/ethnicity. Findings reported in this Bulletin are drawn from the first two waves of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The data are derived from questions survey participants were asked about whether they had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days, used marijuana during the past 30 days, or sold or helped sell marijuana, hashish, or other hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or LSD. The central finding of the analysis is that if a youth engages in one substance-related behavior, he or she is much more likely to engage in other substance-related behaviors.
Deterring Delinquency Through Juvenile Transfers?
The OJJDP Bulletin Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrent to Delinquency? (PDF 222 kb) reviews research on the deterrent effects of transferring juveniles to an adult criminal court, focusing on two large-scale, comprehensive, OJJDP-funded studies on the impact of transfer laws on recidivism. It also identifies gaps in the field’s knowledge base, notes challenges for further research, and discusses whether effective deterrence may be achieved through transfer. Research has shown higher recidivism rates among juveniles convicted for violent offenses in criminal court when compared with similar offenders tried in juvenile court. With respect to whether transfer laws act as a deterrent to would-be juvenile offenders, the studies have produced somewhat conflicting findings. The bulk of the empirical evidence suggests that transfer laws have little or no general deterrent effect.
Evaluating Children's Advocacy Centers
Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) are designed to reduce the stress that child abuse victims and their families experience during traditional child abuse investigations and prosecution procedures, and to improve the effectiveness of the response. CACs coordinate multidisciplinary investigation teams in a centralized, child-friendly setting, employ forensic interviewers specially trained to work with children, and assist children and families in obtaining medical, therapeutic, and advocacy services. The OJJDP Bulletin Evaluating Children’s Advocacy Centers’ Response to Child Sexual Abuse (PDF 306 kb) examines how CACs affect forensic interviewing, child victim disclosures about abuse, children’s receipt of medical exams and mental health care services, prosecution and conviction of offenders, removal of children from their homes, and family satisfaction with the investigations.
Profiling Domestic Assaults Involving Juveniles
Domestic assaults constitute a significant portion of juvenile offending and victimization in the United States. In one of every four assaults that youth commit, the victims are persons with whom the offender has a domestic relationship, either through family ties or an intimate partnership. Domestic Assaults by Juvenile Offenders (PDF 402 kb) analyzes data from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System to profile the relative occurrence of domestic assaults involving juveniles and adults as perpetrators and victims. Among the findings reported in this Bulletin, 51 percent of juvenile domestic assault offenders victimized a parent, and 24 percent victimized a sibling.
Improving Responses to Crime Victims With Disabilities
Promising Practices in Serving Crime Victims With Disabilities provides a snapshot of the scope and dynamics of a demonstration project, funded by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and undertaken by SafePlace, to improve the local response of criminal justice personnel and victim service providers to people with disabilities. The companion toolkit provides more in-depth detail on the strategies and activities of each subgrantee and includes such useful tools as sample needs assessments, sample forensic protocols, and lessons learned vignettes.
Assessing Training and Technical Assistance Needs
The OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center developed the Training Self Assessment Tool to assist organizations in identifying and assessing their training/technical assistance needs. The tool provides a printable summary of responses and a list of available resources based on those responses.
Rebuilding Lives, Restoring Hope
OVC’s 2007 Report to the Nation: Rebuilding Lives, Restoring Hope outlines OVC’s activities and accomplishments during FY 2005 and 2006. Each section summarizes victims' needs in that area and relates how funding from OVC makes a crucial difference in the lives of crime victims. Topics include the Crime Victims Fund, meeting the needs of victims in Indian Country and underserved communities, and funding and assistance for victims of international trafficking, terrorism and mass violence, identity theft, and domestic violence.
Building Working Partnerships To Address Crime
The Community Partnerships CD–ROM, produced by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), helps both community members and law enforcement professionals build working partnerships to address crime and public safety issues in their communities. The CD–ROM focuses on short, easily accessible pieces that describe real-world best practices and success stories.
Examining Foreclosures and Crime
The October 2008 issue of Geography & Public Safety, a quarterly bulletin published by the COPS Office, examines how the nationwide home foreclosure crisis has affected crime, police practice, and public policy. Articles show that geographic information systems can assess how foreclosures influence crime trends and improve city cleanup of graffiti and blight. The issue also describes the tenets of the broken windows policing theory and how this theory explains why police and public planners must react quickly before crime has a chance to escalate.
Analyzing Neighborhood Watch
The third publication in the Crime Prevention Research Review series from the COPS Office, Does Neighborhood Watch Reduce Crime?, summarizes the findings from all rigorous academic studies evaluating Neighborhood Watch programs. The meta-analysis finds that Neighborhood Watch is associated with a reduction in crime. The analysis is based on very few studies because of the lack of randomized experiments in evaluating Neighborhood Watch. Policy implications include recommending more experimental design evaluations of Neighborhood Watch and encouraging local law enforcement agencies to use programs like Neighborhood Watch that work best in their communities.
Measuring the Effects of Information Technologies
Identifying and Measuring the Effects of Information Technologies on Law Enforcement Agencies helps police departments measure the effects of information technologies in support of community policing activities. The guide from the COPS Office is relevant to departments of all sizes and covers various applications—automated field reporting systems, computer-aided dispatch, records management systems, and more. The guide focuses on the three E's—efficiency, effectiveness, and enabling—that identify the different ways technology may affect agencies. The intent is to provide practical measures based on the three E's for how information technologies contribute to achieving department goals, and how they can be used to examine the merits of such expenditures.
Returning From Combat Duty
Combat Deployment and the Returning Police Officer examines issues concerning police officers’ transition back to work after combat zone deployment. Topics include the psychological effects of combat deployment, methods that may lessen the severity of combat stress experienced, and strategies used by police agencies to help officers returning back to work, their families, and communities. This report from the COPS Office highlights the outcomes from four police agencies that have taken measures to assist returning officers and recommends areas for further study.
Reentering the Community
Today’s high rates of prison recidivism point to significant public safety challenges. Using proven problem-solving approaches, the COPS Office’s Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy identifies factors that drive the cycle of prison reentry, analyzes its causes, and presents ways community policing activities and partnerships can help individuals transition from jails or prisons back into the community. Developed by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Police Executive Research Forum, this resource includes materials to assess effectiveness, set priorities, and plan new strategies to deal with the challenges of this special group.
Building 311 in Minnesota
Building a 311 System: A Case Study of the City of Minneapolis examines the process and impact of building a 311 nonemergency call system within the City of Minneapolis. Topics in this publication from the COPS Office include project planning, staffing and training, technology considerations, budgetary issues, call tracking and routing processes, and 311 facility build-out. Also discussed is the 311 system’s impact on several areas affecting police and the citizens of Minneapolis, including 911 call volume, police operations, municipal service delivery systems, quality of life enhancements, community initiatives, and crisis management planning, including its use during the August 2007 Minneapolis I-35W bridge collapse.
Training Police Officers
Police Training Officer (PTO) Program: A Problem-Based Learning Manual for Training and Evaluating Police Trainees from the COPS Office is a four-part compilation CD–ROM of resources that summarizes the valuable experiences and lessons learned from the six agencies selected to participate in the PTO pilot project, guides agencies implementing the PTO program and the PTO officers who train academy graduates, and includes materials for trainers and academy graduates (recruits) undergoing PTO training.
Dealing With Gangs at the Local Level
To assist law enforcement and parents in identifying and addressing gang crime, the COPS Office developed Strategies to Address Gang Crime: A Guidebook for Local Law Enforcement. It provides information about developing and enhancing local law enforcement responses to gangs in their jurisdictions. The focus of the guidebook is on the use of problem-solving strategies to help agencies select the interventions most appropriate for their jurisdictions. In particular, the guidebook describes the SARA model (scanning, analysis, response and assessment), a strategic problem-solving process familiar to local law enforcement that can be applied to its local gang problem. This is a must-have resource to help law enforcement understand the factors that contribute to their gang problem and to select appropriate responses.
Preventing Prison Rape
The National Institute of Justice’s Strategies to Prevent Prison Rape by Changing the Correctional Culture explores successful strategies and programs for addressing the problem of sexual violence in state prisons. A research team from the Urban Institute and the Association of State Correctional Administrators interviewed prison officials in 45 states. This report presents promising initiatives and practices identified in 11 states.