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Social Networks and the Behaviors of Youth in the District of Columbia: An Interim Research Report (DCPI Research Link)
Meagan Cahill, Samantha S. Lowry, Caterina Roman

The D.C. Crime Policy Institute, in partnership with Temple University, is conducting a study on the behavior and social networks of youths ages 14 to 21 in Washington, D.C. The study measures both positive activities (e.g., sports, after-school programs) and delinquent behaviors (e.g., theft, violence) and uses data on social networks to understand how relationships influence behavior and, in turn, to provide insight on how to best prevent youth involvement in delinquent or violent activity. Our preliminary analysis, outlined in this report, finds that nonpeer relationships (teachers, mentors, extended family members) may be just as important as peer relationships when examining delinquency and violence.

Published by: Cahill, M., Lowry, S.S., Roman, C.G. 2012. Social Networks and the Behaviors of Youth in the District of Columbia: An Interim Research Report. Urban Institute: Washington, DC.
Publication Year: 2012 Availability: HTML

Do Human and Social Capital Protect Young African American Mothers From Depression Associated With Ethnic Discrimination and Violence Exposure? (DCPI Research Link)
Amy Lewin, Stephanie Mitchell, Andrew Rasmussen, Kathy Sanders-Phillips, Jill Joseph

Young minority mothers are particularly vulnerable to depression associated with community-level or contextual stressors such as violence exposure and ethnic discrimination. This study explores whether human and social capital act as buffers of the associations between such stressors and maternal depression. Among a sample of 230 urban, African American mothers, who were teenagers when their preschool-age children were born, both being a victim of violence and experiencing ethnic discrimination predicted increased depressive symptoms, and higher educational attainment predicted fewer symptoms. Ethnic identity moderated the association between witnessed violence and maternal depression, and community cohesion moderated the association between ethnic discrimination and depression. Social support protected against depressive symptoms associated with witnessed violence but seemingly exacerbated depression associated with victimization. The specific roles that forms of human and social capital play in moderating the effects of contextual stressors suggest the need for nuanced programmatic efforts to reduce maternal depression among young African American mothers living in violence-prone, urban neighborhoods.

Published by: Journal of Black Psychology 37(3): 286-310.
Publication Year: 2011 Availability: HTML

Social Defeat or Social Resistance? Reaction to Fear of Crime and Violence Among People with Severe Mental Illness Living in Urban 'Recovery Communities' (DCPI Research Link)
Rob Whitley

This article is propelled by recent theory positing that ‘social defeat’ is a common experience for people with severe mental illness, potentially affecting course and outcome. The primary objective is to investigate how far fear of crime and violence contributes toward ‘social defeat’ among people with mental illness. This is done through examining 6 years of ethnographic data collected from a sample of urban-dwelling people with severe mental illness, all securely-housed in apartments located in small scale ‘‘recovery communities.’’ Findings suggest that many participants living in the highest crime neighborhoods report that they deliberately restrict their temporal and spatial movement as a consequence of such crime. This hinders aspects of their recovery. Nevertheless, participants actively confront the nefarious affects of neighborhood crime by engaging in various empowering strategies of resistance. These include confronting disruptive people, fortifying homes, moving around the neighborhood in small groups and carrying objects such as umbrellas and canes that can be used in self-defense. Some reported that fear of crime directly contributed to the development of a rich and gratifying domestic life, centered on hospitality and religion. I conclude that participants partake in valiant and durable ‘‘social resistance,’’ and may better be perceived as imaginative and resourceful resistors, rather than passive victims of ‘‘social defeat.’’ An influential factor fostering such resistance is the ‘‘recovery community’ itself, which creates secure and reliable housing within a micro-community in which participants could thrive.

Published by: Whitley, Rob. Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry, Dec2011, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p519-535, 17p; DOI: 10.1007/s11013-011-9226-y.
Publication Year: 2011 Availability: HTML

Strategic Plan for a Collaborative Neighborhood-Based Crime Prevention Initiative (Research Report)
Akiva Liberman,Jocelyn Fontaine,Martha Ross,Caterina Gouvis Roman,John Roman

A promising approach to reducing and preventing crime at the neighborhood level involves addressing both immediate and long-term risk factors for crime. This strategic plan outlines a collaborative Neighborhood-Based Crime Prevention Initiative (NCPI) that combines law enforcement-led crime suppression activities with human and social service efforts to address longer-term risk factors for crime. This plan focuses on the initiative's structure, and data and administrative requirements. Objectives, associated suppression and prevention activities, and performance measures are related to initiative goals and measurable crime outcomes. This sets the stage for an initiative that could be monitored and ultimately evaluated.

Published by: The Urban Institute
Publication Year: 2011 Availability: PDF

The District of Columbia Mayor's Focused Improvement Area Initiative: A Review of Past Practice (Research Report)
Jocelyn Fontaine,Joshua Markman

In partnership with local agencies, the DC Mayor launched the Focused Improvement Area Initiative in select high-crime areas. The Initiative aimed to reduce crime and increase the quality of life in at-risk communities by combining community policing with human and social services delivery. This report reviews the Initiative's past efforts based on stakeholder interviews, programmatic materials, administrative records, and field observations. While many aspects of the Initiative were implemented as designed, it was not designed in such a way as to ensure sustained interagency, collaborative efforts focused on measuring and addressing outcomes. The report concludes with considerations for next steps.

Published by: The Urban Institute
Publication Year: 2011 Availability: PDF

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