How Does One Community Turn the Curve on Youth Violence?

In response to the growing concern over juvenile crime, the Youth Violence Prevention Taskforce was formed by 40 organizations in October 2012 as a project of the Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County to better understand the problem and its solutions. On December 10th of 2013, 160 people, including judges, elected officials, and members of law enforcement, gathered for the release of the report and to discuss issues and potential fixes. 

The report, “Santa Cruz County Status on Youth Violence,” was introduced by Watsonville Chief of Police Manny Solano and included speakers from local high schools, former gang members, Applied Survey Research, and other community organizations. The day included a presentation of findings from  the rerport and discussion groups about those findings. Ninety percent of Santa Cruz County residents surveyed reported being concerned about crime in 2013, and many are concerned about juvenile crime in particular, but juvenile arrests have dropped by 43% between 2006 and 2012 in the county.    

Other findings are included in the following infographic:


These data will be used to help develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the next 3-5 years.  This process was financially supported by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Trust Fund and the Lucille Packard Foundation in addition to countless in-kind hours donated by taskforce members, partner agencies, and community partners. 

To read press coverage, go here. And to read the full report, go here

For more information please contact Abbigail Stevens, Director of Assessment and Evaluation at

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