Youth Violence Prevention

The Mission of the Criminal Justice Council Youth Violence Prevention Taskforce is to Create: An equitable and united county where all youth are engaged in family, school, and community; where all youth have a sense of safety and wellbeing; where all youth feel they have a voice and are empowered to use it; and where all youth are able to access opportunities for successful transition into adulthood.

Youth violence has become a growing concern in Santa Cruz County. It both directly and indirectly impacts the health, quality of life and future of our youth and our community. In response, the Youth Violence Prevention Taskforce was formed in October 2012 as a project of the Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County to better understand the problem and its solutions. Made up of over 40 stakeholders including elected officials, law enforcement, schools, faith-based organizations, community based organizations, youth, formerly incarcerated individuals and concerned citizens, this inclusive multi-sector collaborative is committed to addressing youth violence through a public health lens, working to identify and implement evidence based, prevention focused and asset based solutions. 

In October 2012, the Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County (CJC) worked
closely with the United Way of Santa Cruz County and Applied Survey Research to
develop a Strategic Planning Summit for over 125 stakeholders committed to
preventing youth gang and school violence in Santa Cruz County. The summit was in
response to a clear need communicated by community stakeholders for better
alignment, coordination and understanding of all of the efforts currently happening in
our community, as well as the identification of common goals for all of these efforts to
work together toward a safer community.

After the initial summit, the CJC Youth Violence Prevention Taskforce was formed. In
2010, the Departments of Justice and Education launched the National Forum on
Youth Violence Prevention and this group is using the 2012 National Forum on Youth
Violence Prevention Strategic Planning Toolkit for Communities as a guide for their
planning process, which calls for a four step process:
Step 1: Build Partnerships and Raise Awareness
Step 2: Gather and Use Data to Inform Strategies
Step 3: Write the Plan, consisting of strategies and goals and measurable objectives
Step 4: Implement the Plan

This report reflects the taskforce’s data collection process, which was designed to
better understand the issue of youth violence in Santa Cruz County and inform the
selection of further strategies and solutions. This process has been 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 and
community partners. Information presented in this snapshot report, in addition to
research and information gathered from community interviews, police ride-alongs, and
youth peer-to-peer surveys will be used to develop and make recommendations to the
Criminal Justice Council in early 2014 for a 3-5 year comprehensive strategic plan.

    Click here to view the Executive Summary
    Click here to learn more about the community summit that took place on
            December 10, 2013, Turning the Curve on Youth Violence:Moving Data to Action

The Complete 2013 Data Report is below, produced by Applied Survey Research