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Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative: Youth Violence in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, North Carolina: Final Report, Summary of Research 1997-1998

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
34 pages
Research conducted in Forsyth County (N.C.) sought to identify prospective and serious violent offenders and determine the characteristics of violent incidents, victims, and offenders to develop short-term strategies of law enforcement and prevention to reduce juvenile violence and longer-term strategies for preventing its occurrence.
The research also aimed to guide the local implementation of these strategies. The study took place as part of a 2-year initiative called Strategic Approaches to Community Safety (SACS). The research focused on three age groups: 0-11, 12-15, and 16- to 17-years. Data came from focus groups, police incident reviews, and police statistics. Results revealed that the county had 68,298 persons under age 18 in 1998 and that 4 percent of these juveniles had been charged with some type of criminal offense. Eleven percent of these 2,816 offenders had been charged with at least 1 violent offense. Thirty-six of the 243 juveniles charged with at least one violent offense are serious offenders; these youths amount to only 0.05 percent of the county’s total juvenile population. A similar analysis revealed that 140 juveniles representing less than 1 percent of Winston-Salem’s juveniles accounted for the city’s juvenile violence and that 32 of these youths were repeat violent offenders. Results also indicated that juvenile violence appears to flourish around certain convenience and neighborhood stores, that older individuals are often co-offenders with juveniles, and that focusing interventions on the small group who commit a disproportionate amount of the crime may greatly enhance the ability to reduce serious and violent juvenile crime. Findings also indicated that issues that need attention include service coordination, mental health needs, school disciplinary actions, after-school activities, mentoring programs, and cultural sensitivity. Recommendations for further research and data collection, figures, and appended figures and background information

Date Published: February 1, 2000