Countywide Coordination of the Youth Violence Prevention Project (YVPP)
50 S. Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
Senior Program Specialist:
In 2004, Palm Beach County experienced a significant increase in the number of gun-related crimes of violence and homicide, especially among younger citizens. In response, the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission initiated a study to look at the extent and nature of the problem, and possible interventions to alter the trend of violent crime. The result of the study (Youth Violence Prevention Project- March 2006 and 2007) indicated that while the County's overall crime rate had declined from 1990-2005, violent crime including those involving firearms, has increased with the murder rate having experienced substantial increases from 2000 to 2005. Of additional importance was the finding that violent criminal offenders in Palm Beach County were most often adolescents or young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.
Palm Beach County's Criminal Justice Commission and associated subcommittees selected the national Comprehensive Gang Model established by the U.S. Department of Justice to implement looking at four components: Prevention, Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections. Cities were invited to participate and agree to a set of specific criteria which is detailed in design and outcome in the Evaluation of the Youth Violence Prevention Project- 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Overview of Components
The establishment of a Youth Empowerment Center in each targeted area that provides activities and services to youth ages 13-18, including after school programs and activities, tutoring/mentoring, job training for in school and out of school youth, information on resources, gang prevention outreach, parenting classes, employment services, Safe Schools Programs and transportation.
The law enforcement strategies are:
- Provide training for all law enforcement agencies on the collection of evidence by standardization of evidence collection policies, procedures and training
- Utilization of the newer technology "license plate recognition cameras" in each of the targeted areas
- Community oriented police officer in each targeted area
- Ad campaigns utilizing bus shelters and billboards to assist in cold case investigations, provide crime prevention tips, and to make people aware of the penalties for gun crimes
- Gun safety programs, including working with gun dealers to better secure the firearms
- Multi-Agency Task Forces
- Violent Crimes Task Force
- Joint operations with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
- The creation of a multiagency Law Enforcement Work Group to combat juvenile crime
The strategies for the Courts component are designed to divert youth from the juvenile justice system and provide the judiciary with additional sanctions. Extend Youth Court within each targeted area. Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART) established as a specialized program for violent juvenile offenders. ART provides an alternative treatment program to stem the violence at an earlier age. Initiate judicial training on ways to involve the parents more in the judicial process to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Fund new prosecutor to handle all gun crimes to work with law enforcement on the prosecution of gun crimes.
Establish a Justice Service Center in each targeted area to provide assistance to juvenile and adult offenders. The Justice Service Center provides services either on-site or through referrals. These services include employment, substance abuse, mental health, legal assistance, re-entry assistance, life skills, and probation sanction assistance. Youth Empowerment Centers and Justice Service Centers in the five targeted areas would incorporate all four components of the plan.
Today's efforts are focused on the Youth Empowerment Centers (YEC) and the Law Enforcement Workgroup (LEWG).
Youth Empowerment Centers are strategically located throughout the county at the following locations:
1550 W. 28th Street
Riviera Beach, FL 33404
Director: Valerie Grimsley
Lake Worth YEC @ Howard Park
1701 Wingfield St, LW 33460
Director: Myriam Glemaud
227 SW 6th Street
Belle Glade, FL 33430
Director: Gary Blake
All calendars are in PDF format.
Law Enforcement Workgroup (LEWG)
The LEWG, under the leadership of Captain Andrews and Major Snow meet bimonthly at the Criminal Justice Commission. The meeting calendar is listed below.
2015 Meeting Calendar
Monday - January 12
Monday, March 9
Monday, July 13
Monday, September 14
Monday, November 9
All meetings take place at the Criminal Justice Commission, 10th floor Conference Room unless otherwise noted.