Youth gang members are several times more likely than non-gang youths to commit crimes, and as many as 1,000 youth in Washington County are estimated to be gang-involved. The Washington County Juvenile Department is committed to addressing this issue with a comprehensive strategy of prevention, intervention and suppression that includes working collaboratively with schools, community agencies, and local law enforcement agencies. Among the strategies in Washington County that address youth gangs are:
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Team members educate youth, parents, schools and community members about the history of gangs, local gangs, trends, identification of gang behavior, and tips for intervention and prevention. Presentations are tailored to fit audience needs. Staff also provide, at request, school-based consultations to youth and families as a prevention and education opportunity. For more information, please see our gang presentations page.
The Juvenile Department has a designated team working with youth who have been referred for criminal activity and who are affected by gang behavior. Research shows that many youth are enticed by the gang culture for the reasons listed below:
The Gang Team aims to address many of these areas with youth through prevention, intervention, accountability and supervision. The Juvenile Department as a whole also makes public safety a top priority. The team provides assessments, interventions, supervision and accountability and presents recommendations to the Court by addressing illegal behavior and youth needs. We also explore the support and strength of the youth and family in order to develop strategies to aid in their reformation. We provide avenues for pro social behavior and opportunities to develop skills they may be lacking. We work collaboratively with schools and community agencies.