When the community itself is unsafe

Some communities have organized systems involving police and social workers to respond to youth who are exposed to violence—but many do not. As a caring adult, you can be a powerful preventive influence against gang membership. But be aware that kids are subject to other forces that are hard to resist.

What to do

  • Role play possible scenarios that might occur and help kids think through how to handle them
  • Help them identify and depend on safe places to go if an incident occurs
  • Identify places and areas to avoid
  • Make sure they know how to contact the police
  • Encourage them to find ways of feeling safe—other than carrying a weapon
  • Help them understand the consequences of carrying weapons (having a gun or knife turned against them or being expelled from school)

What to Avoid

  • Don’t go it alone. Seek help for serious issues involving abuse, violence and/or suicide

How to get help

  • Report any weapon to your program coordinator
  • Work with neighborhood or school organizations (like community centers, YMCA or JCCs) to find safe outlets for fun and physical activities
  • Encourage groups of non-violent peers to meet and spend time together in safe, secure locations

Look for Warning Signs

  • Physical fighting with peers or family members
  • Destruction of property
  • Severe rage for seemingly minor reasons
  • Detailed threats of lethal violence
  • Possession and/or use of firearms and other weapons
  • Other self-injurious behaviors or threats of suicide

The Bigger Picture

If you are helping youth from a poor, inner-city, non-White environment, they are more likely to be affected by community safety issues. They may have been bullied, robbed or beaten. Or they may have witnessed community violence—physical violence, assaults, muggings, or robberies. Community safety issues may also be related to gang activity and even murder. The experiences of being both witnesses and victims often have long-term effects on children’s development.

From The Blog

The Chroncile of Evidence-based Mentoring

Chicago mentoring program proves effective in reducing youth violence
In the United States, violent injuries are one of the leading causes of death among adolescents. Specifically in urban areas, intentional violent injuries account for 85% of injury related adolescent deaths; the youths who survive this violence are at 88 times the risk for recurrent injury and/or fatal violence than those teens who have not been exposed to violent injury…

For many students, school is less safe than home.

Our nation's schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community http://nces.ed.gov/programs/crimeindicators/crimeindicators2014/