Reducing Youth Violence through Community-Level Strategies


Youth violence is a pervasive problem in many communities across the United States. Youth violence includes behavior such as schoolyard physical fighting, gang violence, bullying and electronic aggression.

  • Nearly 700,000 young people ages 10 to 24 are treated in emergency departments each year for injuries sustained from violence-related assaults.
  • On average, 13 people between the ages of 10 and 24 are murdered each day in the United States.
  • In addition to causing injury and death, youth violence affects communities by increasing the cost of health care, reducing productivity, decreasing property values and disrupting social services.

Options to Prevent Youth Violence

Young people fightingIn some states, community-level initiatives have driven down rates of youth violence. Business improvement districts (BID), is an economic development strategy in which local property and business owners pay an additional tax to fund various improvements, such as cleaning streets, security services and other capital improvements. BIDs are associated with significant reductions in crime and are seen by local property and business owners to be financially beneficial. For example, a study of a Los Angeles area BID found a 12 percent drop in robbery rates after implementation, and an 8 percent drop in violent crime overall. 

Other youth violence prevention policy options include:

  • Explore youth violence prevention initiatives or programs in your district to take advantage of existing partnerships, and avoid duplicating prevention efforts.
  • Engage the police in a community-oriented policing approach to violence prevention.
  • Consider additional policies that may reduce access to alcohol or excessive consumption by youth and young adults.


Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2014 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014.

United States map of Percentage of High School Students Who Were  In a Physical Fight One or More Times in 2011


Source: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2011.