New Guide Offers Strategies On Fighting Youth Violence

Published: Jan. 5, 1997

A new guide for people seeking to combat youth violence offers extensive information on promising programs and how to pick the best strategy for different neighborhoods.

The 77-page report, "A Program Planning Guide for Youth Violence Prevention," is authored by Professor Nancy Guerra of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Professor Kirk Williams of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The $20 guide is available from the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at CU-Boulder.

The guide provides key facts about youth violence, approaches to organizing neighborhoods, 10 main types of violence prevention strategies and recommendations on how to implement appropriate programs and evaluate the results. It includes information on how to contact more than 30 violence prevention programs now operating across the nation.

"An important first step for all communities is to acknowledge that violence is a complex problem with many underlying causes," the guide states. "It is clear that this problem cannot be solved through a single activity. Rather, it is necessary for communities to build youth violence prevention strategies that incorporate a number of promising programs."

The guide describes programs aimed at addressing youth violence at different ages and in different settings such as homes and schools. The programs vary in focus and include gang prevention, peer mediation, parent training, after-school recreation and youth development.

Guerra is a professor of psychology and Williams is a professor of sociology and associate director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

"Sometimes communities don't need to think about doing something new, but to think about better utilizing available resources to combat the problem," Williams said.

Part of the guide discusses how to promote community organization and collaboration. The most successful efforts to address youth violence come from neighborhoods where there is cohesion and a consensus about violence prevention efforts, according to the study.

All successful strategies to address youth violence require:

€Understanding the youth violence problem both nationally and locally.

€Understanding local community needs and optimizing the use of community resources.

€Identifying promising programs and activities and tailoring them to meet local community needs.

€Developing effective program implementation and documenting program results.

To order the guide call (303) 492-8465, or fax to (303) 443-3297, or write to the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, University of Colorado at Boulder, Campus Box 442, Boulder, CO 80309-0442.

Copies also may be ordered by e-mail at or through the center's home page at

Funding for the report was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corp. of New York.