Good Ideas for Cities:
Updates from the Mayors Innovation
Project Summer Meeting Re-Cap: Preventing Violent Crime & Engaging Youth Leaders
It’s been just over a month since we convened in Columbia, SC for the Summer 2019 Annual Meeting. Mayors at the Summer 2019 Meeting had the opportunity to dive deeper into two key issues for cities: Reducing and Preventing Violent Crime and Youth Leadership. Read on for a re-cap from these sessions, including linked resources that can help you improve quality of life in your own city.
While violent crime in cities has been steadily declining over the last 30 years, its tragic impacts make it something cities must continue to work diligently to prevent. This panel highlighted the need to move beyond interruption to long-term prevention. We need to re-frame how we talk about crime, with a focus on getting to its root causes like housing and poverty. Anthony Smith of Cities United discussed how the organization helps cities create long-term plans focused on education, workforce readiness, juvenile justice, and community engagement. Their Road Shop Academy can help your city get started.
Columbia, SC’s Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly discussed how, despite having twice the national average of violent crimes, they haven’t pulled the trigger on someone since 2015. This has been key in building public trust. He also highlighted their new system for interrupting gun violence. Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, NJ, talked about how his city views violence as a public health crisis. In doing so, Newark found that 20% of the city experiences 100% of the gun violence, which allowed them to better focus their efforts. Focused interruption, long-term thinking, and community engagement has been built into the planning and vision of the city, creating a holistic approach.
Teenagers and young adults are experiencing unprecedented access to information, global consciousness, organizing tools, and advocacy resources. We learned about the breadth of best practices for building on this youth movement in local policy and decision-making. From hosting a youth summit, to starting a youth council, to establishing participatory budgeting, to lowering the municipal voting age–mayors have tremendous opportunities to foster civic participation, develop leadership skills, and engage youth in policy-making.
Columbia, SC hosted its first online peer election to re-launch their youth commission, connecting closely with school districts across the region. Ivanna Fregoso, a youth leader from Miramar, FL, discussed both her work advising the Mayor Messam on youth issues, as well her efforts to develop connections with youth leaders nationally. St. Louis Park, MN has engaged youth advocates in developing the City’s climate action plan, as well as in exploring nontraditional approaches to address gun violence locally.
Save the Date: Winter 2020 Policy Meeting
Our Winter 2020 Policy Meeting will take place in Washington, DC from Friday, January 24 to Saturday, January 25. Topics include Census 2020, Early Childhood Education, and more. This meeting will feature our first-ever Women Mayor’s Network Meeting. More details to come!