This paper touches upon the problem of violence among adolescents and studies the influence of such factors as gangs, weapons, and video gaming on students’ behavior. While uncovering the roots of the issue, the provided action plan addresses initiatives to help reduce the prevalence of youth violence and diminish its impact on the rest of children. The plan involves identifying a risk population (pupils aged from 11 to 18) and introducing educational and local interventions to maximize the police effectiveness in crime fighting.
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Close cooperation with schools, parents, and media, is the variable determining the overall success of the campaign. Other communities (medical facilities or software developers) are also marked as key participants and will engage in the plan implementation process once the promotion of the campaign is launched.
The murdering of 17 people in Florida’s high school in February 2018 served as a nudge for community and governmental structures to apply stricter control over gun distribution. Recent events have shown that gangs have an enormous influence on the minds and behavior of regular students, forcing law-abiding youths to turn into criminals. By addressing the issue to the fullest extent of the law, the city police department introduces a new action plan assigned to reduce crime prevalence and bring back safety to schools and public facilities. There are strictly defined educational interventions in the plan aimed at weakening the effect of violence on children. For the initiative to be successfully implemented, an extensive promotion campaign and active community assistance are required.
Initiatives to Address
The challenge of street gangs has forced governmental bodies to look for the strict measures of protecting adolescents from the disruptive influence of criminal groups. Considering that pupils in the USA start attending a middle school at the age of 11, the given plan identifies everyone aged from 11 to 18 as a high-risk population (Jennings-Bey et al., 2015). With regard to this fact, the current program addresses both educational and local initiatives to ensure that a complex approach to the issue settlement has been taken. Educational initiatives are targeted at teaching youth about actions leading to criminal prosecution and the possible outcomes of this behavior.
Teachers are encouraged to invite police officers to their classes. Local initiatives involve close cooperation of schools and police departments in the matters of crime fighting. The police are responsible for locating and bringing back to schools those pupils who were away from classes for three days without an admissible excuse. Repeat violations will lead to penalizing parents and eight hours of public work.
Diminishing the Effect of Violence
The percentage of children being exposed to violence at school goes higher with every next year. It is stated in research that “all 50 states and the District of Columbia report gang problems, and reports have increased for 5 of the past seven years” (“Gang prevention,” n.d.). Pupils who have experienced violent behavior towards them usually demonstrate a higher tendency to express aggressiveness and engage in criminal activity than the rest of children. However, as Jennings-Bey et al. (2015) indicate, timely intervention accompanied by constant monitoring can assist in mitigating the impact of violence.
The action plan discussed in this paper includes a range of activities targeted at helping potential victims. One of the measures involves appointing psychologists and social workers to help children overcome the occurring anxieties. Training teachers on mental health interventions is another important aspect the program puts emphasis on. A number of services will be launched to provide round-the-clock support for both learners and educators.
The Influence of Video Gaming
One might fairly link violent behavior of young people to the presence of such a form of entertainment as video games and games with gore in particular. Some educators believe that the recent rise in murdering with a knife, gun, or vehicles is conditioned by the increasing popularity of a gaming genre. The concept of a “mass killer” introduced by software developers has shifted the understanding of a criminal act, which is now turned into unrestrained aggression.
While some players treat gaming as simply the source of fun, there are those who use games to practice the art of shooting and bring their skills to the streets. As a police officer, one may conclude that the mature nature of some products is not suitable for teenagers. Therefore, a strict limitation is the only way to save adolescents from the deleterious influence of on-screen violence. Online purchases of these products should only be allowed after a scanned copy of a buyer’s passport is uploaded to a retailer’s website.
For the action plan to have successful outcomes, it is expected that communities, parents, and schools join the initiative and provide their full support in the matters of program implementation. Police departments may ask key stakeholders to teach pupils social skills and help them discover efficient ways of controlling emotions (Massetti, Holland, & Gorman-Smith, 2016). Technology developers will assist by designing software that analyzes suspicious activity among children and alerts parents and teachers about this behavior.
As to medical interventions, mental health screening must be regularly conducted to detect any deviations and take timely response measures. Lastly, social media corporations could do regular posts on violence to keep family members informed. There will always be links to services that can assist with the issue settlement.
The Role of the Police Department
The police department’s role in this situation is mostly preventive. However, deterrent functions are also highlighted in the plan since violations are inevitable. Preventive measures include counselling teachers and pupils on crime prevalence and possible punishment for violent behavior. The department will closely cooperate with mass media to promote the anti-crime program and thus, draw stakeholders’ attention to the issue.
The given intervention may address various subjects including drug and alcohol intake, driving without a license, and more. A deterrent approach can be tracked in the fact that uniformed officers will be present at schools to immediately react to any program violations. The latter may include bullying, fights, cutting classes, contact with criminal elements, and so on. The police must demonstrate full readiness to protect adolescents from the disruptive influence of any kind.
Measuring the Plan Effectiveness
The plan implementation will be measured using a variety of data. Direct observations with daily reports will allow governmental structures to constantly remain up-to-date and detect even minor changes in crime statistics. Along with the mentioned reports, the police will gather data from interviews and surveys that public organizations will be conducting on repeated occasions (Massetti et al., 2016). The results of these surveys will be immediately delivered to police departments and processed by the dedicated software platform. Software reports will be then transferred to a single network and closely examined by the committee of experts who will assess the data and provide further recommendations. With this system applied, the government will be able to monitor the situation locally and redirect resources to the most problematic states.
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The success of the discussed action plan utterly depends on how effective the cooperation between communities and police departments will be. The program involves direct participation of mass media, public organizations, and medical centers; the police should coordinate their actions with educators to effectively address the problem of gangs and violence at school. Public organizations’ support is also required to help the police analyze the outcomes of the program implementation.
Gang prevention: An overview of research and programs. (n.d.). Web.
Jennings-Bey, T., Lane, S. D., Rubinstein, R. A., Bergen-Cico, D., Haygood-El, A., Hudson, H., & Fowler, F. L. (2015). The trauma response team: A community intervention for gang violence. Journal of Urban Health, 92(5), 947-954.
Massetti, G. M., Holland, K. M., & Gorman-Smith, D. (2016). Implementation measurement for evidence-based violence prevention programs in communities. Journal of Community Health, 41(4), 881-94.