The NYPD is piloting a new program aimed at keeping youthful offenders away from a life of crime. This new program, which is equal parts police work and social service, is aimed at the highest risk teenagers, ones who have previous violations for robbery, gun violence, or gang crime.
The program starts with an intervention in which police tell a wayward youth, “We are watching you, but we are here to help you.” Police monitor these young people through social media, Twitter and conventional police tactics. They make their presence known so youths are less likely to commit crimes.
The second part of the program involves mentorship. Officers are paired with a young person who they provide guidance for. This can be in the form of tutoring, going out to sports games, helping the family apply for scholarships and aid or even providing presents during the holidays.
The program has the added benefit of improving police and community relationships. Many parents, who were used to police knocking on their doors as a result of a negative occurrence, are happy to see officers dropping off textbooks or giving a stay-in-school pep talk.
For now, the program exists only in Brownsville and East Harlem, but its success will probably see New York legislature tracking it up to city policy.