What if the way to combat youth gang violence is to intervene in young peoples’ lives in a positive fashion, rather than simply cracking down with heavy-handed police tactics?
Community-policing projects are being implemented with this goal in mind across the Americas, and the results so far from one of the world’s most violent cities — Cali, Colombia — have engendered cautious enthusiasm.
At a cost of millions of dollars, Cali’s municipal government targets at-risk teenagers and provides them with alternatives to gang recruitment.
Youth leaders nurtured by the project build community solidarity through projects such as playground rejuvenation, trash pickups and homework clubs, while modeling a gang-free lifestyle to their peers.
So far the project has worked with 1,400 people and 73 gangs in the mosst violent parts of Cali.
Source: Christian Science Monitor