Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Fremont Programs Reduce Youth Crime

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Fremont Programs Reduce Youth Crime

Article excerpt

Concerned about increased juvenile crime, Mayor Gus Morrison and other leaders in Fremont, Calif., created two programs that have significantly reduced recidivism during the past two years.

The Youth Diversion Program and H.E.L.P (Help Educate Loving Parents) are cooperative efforts involving staff from the city, county, school district, local medical professionals, and citizen volunteers.

The Youth Diversion Program is an alternative for young first-time offenders of graffiti vandalism, possession of or being under the influence of controlled substances, or minor infractions or misdemeanors. It is a positive alternative to prosecution that provides constructive redirection to participants. The program requires the satisfactory completion of community service and counseling. The program also promotes positive contacts with adults from the police and other city Departments, and involves parents.

The youth are assigned a work site and provided training to develop job skills and to complete service work at a high standard. Participants have aided city employees with weed abatement, leaf and litter removal, graffiti paint-outs, building clean-up and repainting faded red curbs. In addition, participants clean community centers on a regular basis, help paint and maintain the local homeless shelter, wash police vehicles every two weeks and have initiated a cemetery beautification program for a local cemetery where many founding families of the city of Fremont are buried.

Since the inception of the program in November 1994, approximately 500 young people have been diverted from the juvenile court system. …

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