Center on Race and Social Problems

Youth Crime Prevention

United Way Youth Crime Prevention Council

Environmental Scan of Programs that Address Youth Violence in Selected Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Neighborhoods

As directed by the Youth Crime Prevention Council, the purpose of this project is to conduct an environmental scan of the presence, content, and capacity of programs that address youth violence in two City of Pittsburgh and two Allegheny County neighborhoods. These four neighborhoods—Homewood and the Northside in Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg and Braddock (North Braddock, Braddock, and Rankin) in the County—have been identified as high-risk for youth violence but also well positioned to initiate a community-mobilization strategy to address youth violence. The specific objects of the project are described below.

Objectives

The first objective of the environmental scan is to identify youth-violence-related programs that operate within the four target neighborhoods. Program descriptions will be acquired to identify the programs’ basic goals, hours of operation, populations served, program inputs, activities, outputs, and, where available, evaluation outcomes. Information associated with program elements will be obtained from published documents as well as interviews with program and/or organizational administrators. Maps that detail the location of identified programs with data on risk factors associated with youth violence will be developed in order to geographically assess program availability, potential neighborhood needs and directions for future program enhancement.

The second objective of the environmental scan is to compare and contrast the programs that exist in the four target communities to best practice evidence-based programs that are recommended by past research and by key national research centers and organizations (e.g., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and others). Information related to evidence-based models for youth violence prevention will be obtained from a variety of science/academic, administrative and federal report resources. The information gathered will be summarized according to ecological level (e.g., individual, family, school, community) in order to facilitate the matching process with unique organizations identified through the first objective.

The final objective is to integrate the information from objectives one and two in order to identify service gaps in youth violence-related programs in the four project neighborhoods. In addition to assessing the application of evidence-based practices to prevent youth violence with local programs, this effort will help to identify underserved populations (e.g., by age, level of risk for youth violence such as adjudicated youth/reentry, underserved geographic areas within the neighborhoods) and underserved ecological domains (e.g., individual, family, peer, school and community). Organizing and addressing youth violence from an ecological perspective is based upon an abundance of existing youth-violence-prevention literature.