Policing Guns and Youth Violence
Publication: The Future of Children
Topics: Age Group Ethnicity Law Enforcement Legislation and Policy
Keywords: Firearms Law Enforcement Urban Environments Youth Violence gun crimes
Bibliographic information +
The author reviewed case studies of 8 cities’ efforts to police gun crime, ranging from police-citizen partnerships to address youth violence or aggressive enforcement against young suspects of even minor criminal activity to providing alternatives to arrest or a combination of approaches. The author notes that law enforcement agencies that cooperated with citizens in policing strategies gained a more positive image and status of legitimacy in the community, which may have enhanced their efforts to fight crime. Aggressive strategies might have contributed to youth gun violence’s decline but may have cost police legitimacy among minority residents who felt police action was racially motivated. “Soft”, non-arrest strategies have not proven their worth yet. The author suggests that police needs to combine enforcement with community engagement to shift the social norms that are the root cause of youth gun violence.