New study says seven out of ten U.S. adults believe bad economy is contributing to gang violence among youth; World Vision Youth Empowerment Project sends teens to nation's capitol to voice concernsJuly 20, 2009
—About seven out of ten U.S. adults (71%) say that gang violence among youth is on the rise due to the current economic crisis, reveals a recent World Vision
survey. The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive
*, also shows that 41% of adults believe that the main cause for gang violence among youth is lack of adult supervision.
However, youth across America are refusing to accept the volatility of their communities – and are determined to make themselves heard with national lawmakers.
Now in its third year, the World Vision Youth Empowerment Project
(YEP) prepares youth from some of the nation’s most at-risk communities to identify and combat gang violence and other issues threatening the well-being of youth – by influencing those in positions to affect change. From July 18-23, 110 high school students will visit Washington, D.C.to meet with members of Congress – the culmination of their 20-week program. Teens from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma, Washington, D.C. and rural areas of Georgia, Ohio, and West Virginia will present policy recommendations concerning youth violence and prevention, education, and strengthening the voice of youth in their communities.
One of the issues the YEP
teens will advocate for is passage of the Youth PROMISE Act
(H.R. 1064 and S. 435). The Youth Prison Reduction Through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education (PROMISE) Act will work in communities facing the greatest youth violence challenges to form a local council comprised of representatives from law enforcement, court services, schools, social services, health providers, and community- and faith-based organizations. The council will develop a comprehensive plan for implementing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies. (Source: http://www.house.gov/scott
The World Vision survey also shows that U.S. adults overwhelmingly believe that prevention (73%) would be more effective than law enforcement (20%) in combating gang violence among youth in America. Increasing support to mentor-focused prevention programs with proven track records is a key strategy that YEP delegates will be recommending in Wash., D.C.
Early crime statistics for the past year in major cities indicate an increase, including a 2.5% overall increase in Chicago according to the Chicago Police Department. In addition, Seattle had an 8 % increase for the first five months of 2009, with robbery, burglary, and larceny continuing a trend seen in the latter half of 2008, according to the Seattle Police Department.
“The first day of Spring break a young man was shot in the head and killed a few feet from my door…I thought to myself, if I had not left my home to participate in a positive program that could have been me,” said Arielle Arzu, 17-year-old student delegate from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.
“Financial crises generate despair and frustration, worsening conditions in already distressed communities and sparking problems in new areas,” said Corryne Deliberto, World Vision’s youth violence expert. “Now more than ever, it’s critical to invest in mentor-focused prevention programs that will equip, empower, and energize our youth, protecting them and our communities.”
To learn more about the World Vision Youth Empowerment Project, visit http://worldvision.org/empower*The poll was conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive on behalf of World Vision, between June 26-29, 2009 among 1,022 U.S. adults ages 18 +. About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.comAdditional materials are available upon request, including survey data tables and survey questions, YEP Summit D.C. schedule, YEP student bios, and YEP policy recommendations by region. World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.