Youth and Gang Violence Steering Committee
Chaired by Baruti Artharee, Policy Advisor for Mayor Charlie Hales
The Youth and Gang Violence Steering Committee is committed to collaborating and communicating across systems and with affected communities. The Committee’s vision is a violence-free, opportunity-rich future for every member of our community.
Its mission is to reduce youth and gang violence, reduce related disproportionate minority contact, and lessen the disproportionate negative impacts of gang violence on communities of color.
LPSCC has adopted a comprehensive, three-pronged approach that balances and coordinates enforcement, intervention, and prevention strategies and that pursues well-defined, long-term goals and outcomes. In support of this approach, the Steering Committee’s work is based upon evidence-based and best practices, the latest research and the most reliable data. In pursuit of LPSCC’s goals and outcomes, its responsibilities include serving as a resource, a technical advisor and an advocate for effective strategies.
The City of Portland's Office of Youth Violence Prevention meets regularly every other Friday; meetings are open to the public.
Responses to Gang Violence in Multnomah County
For over a decade, public safety agencies, service providers, and community members throughout Multnomah County have worked together under the auspices of LPSCC and local governments to implement nationally-recognized strategies to combat youth and gang violence.
In 1998, as one of five participating sites in Attorney General Janet Reno’s Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI), LPSCC adopted a three-pronged strategy based largely on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) model strategy.
By focusing on coordinated, evidence-based law enforcement, intervention and prevention practices, and with the guidance of Prof. David Kennedy and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Portland’s SACSI initiative (known locally as STACS) and subsequent efforts in the county using the same approach, have produced the kind of successes that Boston, Chicago and other cities experienced using such a strategy:
- Reports of shots fired in Portland dropped from 3193 in 1996 to 1609 in 2008;
- Aggravated assaults with handguns plummeted in Portland from 867 in 1994 to 151 in 2007;
- By 2006, juvenile recidivism had reached its lowest level in six years;
- From 2001 to 2008, the number of youth referred to the Department of Community Justice for criminal activity steadily decreased, even as the population of individuals under 18 grows within Multnomah County.
See the National Network for Safe Communities website for more information on these strategies, including:
- "Ceasefire: Basic Steps to Implementation"
- "Norms, Narratives, and Community Engagement for Crime Prevention"
- "Social Networks and the Risk of Gunshot Injury."
For this kind of comprehensive, coordinated approach to remain effective, it must also be sustainable. In 2011, in recognition of the need to renew its coordination and oversight of countywide efforts to combat youth and gang violence, LPSCC adopted an Action Plan to reinvigorate the successful strategy developed under the auspices of its STACS Initiative, and to ensure that this comprehensive approach will be sustained over time. The Youth & Gang Violence Steering Committee works to realize the goals of that plan.
- Youth and Gang Violence Steering Committee Action Plan presented to the LPSCC Executive Committee on September 2012
- Letter by the Y&GV Steering Committee, "Stop blaming the victims: The facts on youth violence."
- Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, 2011, Action Plan to Reduce Youth and Gang Violence: Ensuring Effective Coordination, Oversight, Community Engagement & Measurable Outcomes
- Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, 2009, A Proposal for a Comprehensive and Coordinated Response to Gang and Youth Violence
- Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, 2004, Healthy Communities: A Youth Gang Prevention Strategy for Portland and Multnomah County.
- Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, 2004, Healthy Communities: A Youth Gang Prevention Strategy for Gresham and East County.
- Latino Gang Violence Prevention Task Force of Multnomah County, 2004, Latino Youth Gang Violence in Multnomah County: Understanding the Problem, Shaping the Future.