In recent years there has been a rising concern about youth gangs in Harlem. In an attempt to respond the community concern, in September 2010, the Harlem Community Justice Center launched a Juvenile Gang Task Force. Created with support from the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Juvenile Gang Task Force brought together city government agencies, community-based organizations and faith-based leaders to research the depth of the youth gang problem and create recommendations to address the growing concern.
• In 2009, youths under the age of eighteen accounted for 41 percent of all robbery arrests in upper Manhattan.
• Between 2007 and 2009, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) reported an increase in identified youth gangs in Upper Manhattan from 10 gangs and 150 members to 29 gangs and 1000 members.
• According to the NYPD, gang-involved youths were responsible for 29 percent (7 of 24) of all gun-related homicides in upper Manhattan in 2009, and 30 percent (31 of 102) of non-fatal shootings.
• Social media increasingly used to document affiliations and conflicts and to organize violence.
• Convene Regular Police-Community/Youth Dialogues
• Hold Annual Youth Resource Fairs.
• Invest in School-Based Violence Prevention Programs.
• Develop Online Peer Leaders.
• Develop Street-Based Youth Development Activities in Gang Hot Spot Areas.
• Reinstate the Youth Coordinator Position at the Community Board.
• Expand Employment Opportunities for Youth.
• Create a Juvenile Justice Online Data Center.
• Expand Mentoring Programs.
• Provide Free Tattoo Removal Services.
• Increase Non-exclusionary Responses to Gangs in Schools.
• Develop a Gang Screening Tool.
• Develop a Police Diversion Pilot.
• Deploy New Techniques to Understand How Gang Members are Connected and How Their Relationships Contribute to Violent Behavior.
• Develop a “Cease-Fire” Style Targeted Outreach program to Reduce Gun Violence.
• Target Gang Hot Spots.
• Enhance Reentry Services to Address Gang Members Returning from Prison or Placement
To read the Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan Reports click here.