Lawrence has high unemployment and a dropout rate that is roughly 4 times the state average, contributing to increases in youth at risk for gang involvement.
There were 273 documented youth crime incidents within the city (1/1/08-7/31/08) of which 24% were gang-related.
Teen births have been identified by Lawrence as a central issue in contributing to the revolving cycle of youth and gang violence in the city.
Youth are using the increasing number of vacant properties as places to hold gang-affiliated parties.
Lawrence police department will:
- Continue to hold weekly gang meetings with school resource and gang unit officers to share information and intelligence on gang-related issues impacting the community.
- Target city parks where gang members have been known to hang out.
- Continue home visits to parents and family of gang-involved youth to share/make referrals to available services.
- Continue to share information and educate the community and service agencies on gang activity in the city.
- Will address the direct link between underage drinking/partying and violent juvenile assaults and shootings.
- Host a Jr. Police Academy designed to educate youth concerning the various aspects of the law enforcement profession.
Lawrence service providers will:
- Address teen dating and violence and include a program specifically focused on identifying the link between violence and teen pregnancy.
- Expand junior and teen achievers programs, which provide early intervention services to youth ages 11-18 who have been involved in criminal or delinquent activities.
- Offer Street Smart, a comprehensive gang and violence prevention initiative, to 200 Lawrence youth to deter gang involvement and promote conflict resolution.
- Provide community services, GED/alternatives, job training, counseling and support services, and leadership development.
- Add a boxing component that provides discipline, a safe environment, competition, and travel.
Lawrence Shannon CSI partners have worked to achieve a more comprehensive definition of gang crime and to understand gang-crime problems.
Lawrence PD's Operation Party Crashers was a helpful tool for gathering gang intelligence and reducing juvenile-crime incidents by ending parties or stopping them before they took place.
Lawrence PD developed a gang crime tracking system to identify patterns and hot- spots for gang activity.
Junior and teen achievers programs have served over 200 high-risk youth during after-school and early evening hours.
YMCA runs a mentoring program that serves 40 high-risk youth and has a series of other programs that provide safe spaces/alternatives.