Ideas For Action To Reduce Gun Violence
Community and neighborhood agencies provide the services---counseling, tutoring, job training, mentoring---that are the "other half" of the overall plan to reduce gun crime and violence. While aggressive law enforcement and strong messages of non-tolerance of gun crime and violence are necessary, those who are deterred need services and support in order to stay away from these activities. Social service providers in community and neighborhood agencies must have the opportunity to work hand in hand with law enforcement to show offenders and those at risk of offending that they have a choice: continue to cause violence and crime with guns and face the consequences, or decide to act
differently and be helped by community services. It is through access to and delivery of these services that much crime and victimization can be prevented.
Ensure that human services are an integrated part of your community's plan of reducing gun crime and violence.
- If you are not part of a community-wide group developing plans to address these issues, make sure you join one.
- Make contact with your U.S. Attorney, state and local prosecutors, or chief of police to find out what is being done and how your agency can be involved.
- Develop a comprehensive list of services across the community and ways to access these services; make sure law enforcement agencies have these lists to make referrals.
- Provide opportunities for the young people and adults you serve to speak out on how gun crime and violence have affected their lives, so community planners can develop better responses to these issues.
- Work with victim service providers and hospital trauma staffs to reach gun violence victims or their friends who may be bent on revenge shootings.
- Work to strengthen parenting skills, especially with parents whose children are showing early signs of trouble.
Deliver a variety of services that can help change people's lives.
- Intervene early and quickly in cases of domestic violence and child abuse. Early exposure to violence can lead to violent and delinquent behavior later in life.
- Help clients understand the impact that gun violence has on their families and neighborhoods and how preventing or reducing gun violence through a variety of approaches can improve their lives and their children's lives.
- Offer training, or access to training, on ways to deal with difficult or troubled children. Many parents are unsure of the most effective techniques for helping these youngsters.
- Consider it part of your obligation to families to raise the issue of safe gun storage and help them find access to free or low-cost devices if they decide to keep a legally authorized firearm at home.
- Develop or strengthen a case management approach so that it is easier to spot families and individuals---especially youth---who are at risk of becoming involved in drug sales and gangs, often gateways to gun violence.
- Encourage mentoring programs, especially for youth who are at risk of involvement with violence.
- Make sure your clients have access to after-school opportunities for their children, especially during the high-risk, high-crime times of 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Establish a community standard that doesn't tolerate gun crime and violence and the destruction of lives and families it leaves behind.
- Gather people to take a united stand against gun crime and violence.
- Harness the energy of youth so they can help prevent crime and violence through such programs as mediation, graffiti prevention, teen courts, etc.
- Know ways in which people can report crime, potential crime, or suspicious behavior anonymously. Teach them how and why to do so.
- Understand your legal obligations under state or local law or regulation to report crime, including gun crime, and how to report suspicious situations as well as outright crimes.
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