77th Annual Meeting

CRIME PREVENTION

WHEREAS, more than 50 mayors and police chiefs met at The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Action Forum on Crime in Philadelphia August 5-6, 2008, to develop an action agenda on crime; and

WHEREAS, that national action agenda includes a series of findings and recommendations relating to crime prevention; and

WHEREAS, the mayors and police chiefs found that:

  • With approximately 700,000 people now being released from U.S. prisons each year - most returning to their home communities - the need for programs to support successful reentry and reduce the incidence of recidivism has grown significantly.

  • Youth violence has reached epidemic proportions in many cities. In the August 2009 survey conducted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, half of the survey cities reported an increase in youth violence in the last year. In these cities, the problem most often took the form of gang violence, street crime, school violence, and gun violence.

  • The most effective crime prevention strategies have always included the provision of education and jobs for city residents. Education and jobs must be backed up, however, by a range of support services that target at-risk populations with proven programs. Cities must be able to take advantage of best practices in developing their own innovative approaches to local crime problems.

  • The most effective crime prevention strategies have always included the provision of education and jobs for city residents. Education and jobs must be backed up, however, by a range of support services that target at-risk populations with proven programs. Cities must be able to take advantage of best practices in developing their own innovative approaches to local crime problems.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors adopts as its policy the prevention initiatives called for by the mayors and police chiefs in the National Action Agenda on Crime:

  • Successful reentry initiatives require a strong partnership between public and private agencies and should begin at sentencing. Inmates should be provided education, training, and substance abuse treatment while in prison so that, when they are released to their communities, they have a skill and are prepared to hold a job. There should be minimum standards for release from federal prison: Inmates should be drug-free, possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, and be trained in a specific skill. Further, they should be provided help in finding jobs, housing, and the support they need to reenter their communities successfully.

  • The recently-enacted Second Chance Act should be fully funded and its authorization level should be increased significantly when it is renewed.

  • If crime prevention efforts are to be successful, the federal government must ensure that substance abuse treatment - both in communities and in correctional facilities - is available on demand.

  • The federal government must attach a high priority to preventing youth violence. Successful prevention efforts require strong intergovernmental and public-private partnerships. A public health approach is required at the local level. Both tough enforcement and addressing the root causes of violence among young people are essential. Preventing youth violence requires connecting young people to trusted adults, intervening at the first sign that youth are at risk of violence, restoring youth who have gone down the wrong path, and helping youth to unlearn the culture of violence that exists in too many communities.

  • As part of the youth violence prevention effort, the federal government should establish an interagency mechanism to coordinate the youth programs and activities supported by the various federal departments and agencies. Modeled after the Interagency Council on Homelessness, the interagency coordinating mechanism would assure that the various programs are focused on the essentials of violence prevention (described above) and that the outcomes of the programs are sharply defined and measured.

  • The federal government should provide cities with funding and technical assistance to encourage similar coordination efforts at the local level. Included in this should be support for the development of local violence prevention plans, approved by the mayor, which respond to locally identified needs.