Turning the Curve on Youth Violence in Santa Cruz County

Image courtesy of Megan Joseph.ASR staff was proud to participate in “Turning the Curve on Youth Violence”, a conference of the Santa Cruz County Criminal Justice Council on August 16th about best practices in preventing youth violence.  Abbie Stevens, the Director of Assessment and Evaluation at ASR, gave background on the work of the Youth Violence Prevention Task Force. Data collected by the Watsonville and Santa Cruz Youth City Councils was presented from 1,136 youth surveys conducted in Watsonville and 850 surveys in Santa Cruz.  The surveys revealed some powerful data such as: More than half (53%) of youth had a friend who belonged to a gang and only one out of four youth knew that they could report a crime anonymously. 

Image courtesy of Megan Joseph.The keynote speaker was Michael Clark who shared new research on making change one adolescent at a time. Other speakers included Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins, District Attorney Bob Lee, Superior Court Judge Ariadne Symons, Sheriff Phil Wowak, former California Secretary of Education Delaine Eastin, Megan Joseph of United Way of Santa Cruz County, Fernando Giraldo of the Santa Cruz County Probation Department, and youth speakers Yoni Hernandez and Winter Miller.  

The Youth Violence Task Force is currently studying best practices to prevent violence, while ASR is collecting data about youth violence and violence prevention in Santa Cruz County. In December, the task force will hold a summit to discuss strategies to implement next year. For more information, contact Abbie Stevens, the Director of Assessment and Evaluation at ASR at abbie@appliedsurveyresearch.org.