City program reduces youth gang involvement
Calgary, Alberta – Today The City of Calgary shared evaluation results that demonstrate the difference the Youth at Risk Development (YARD) program is making in youth gang involvement in Calgary.
The YARD program combines law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, community services providers and intergovernmental resourcing to help youth make the healthy choice to avoid criminal activity.
“Knowing that our combined effort is making a difference in the lives of young Calgarians affirms that we are on the right path,” said Katie Black, acting director, Community & Neighbourhood Services. “We are seeing real changes. The YARD program is making a difference, and together we are changing lives.”
The independent evaluation results show the YARD program is changing the behaviour of those young Calgarians most at risk of participating in gang activity. This is measured through the reduction of criminal charges being laid against YARD program participants as compared to non-participants. YARD is also demonstrating promising positive trends in areas such as constructive use of time and self-esteem.
“It’s about providing kids with the skills and the opportunities to make good decisions. Through mentorship and the collaborative supports offered in the YARD program, they are making a lasting impact,” said Calgary Police Service Deputy Chief Trevor Daroux. “Investment in early intervention pays off tenfold, not only because the kids choose a path out of crime, but they also become productive adults. YARD works.”
Launched in 2008 by the Calgary Police Service and Community & Neighbourhood Services, this program seeks to prevent or stop gang involvement and criminal behaviour among youth aged 10 to 17 years.
The City of Calgary and the Calgary Police Service work alongside partners in Alberta Health Services, the Justice and Solicitor General, The National Crime Prevention Centre of Canada and Calgary school boards to provide youth, their families and their communities with the tools necessary to build positive productive lives.
A full summary of the evaluation results can be found online at Calgary.ca/youthjustice.