NYPD's New Initiative to Reduce Juvenile Crime

In January 2007, the New York Police Department (NYPD) started a new initiative to combat juvenile crime in New York, known as Juvenile Robbery Prevention Program (JRIP). The program which was originally launched in Brownsville, Brooklyn was, because of its evident success, expanded to the Rockways in 2008 and to East Harlem in 2009.

The main objective of the JRIP program is to dissuade potential juvenile offenders using early intervention and monitoring of social media.

The JRIP program is based on identifying and monitoring teenagers who have previously been arrested for robbery and who are potentially at higher risk of getting involved in criminal activities in order to prevent them from engaging in criminal activities in the future.

Police identify the names of the teenagers with previous criminal record, their place of living, friends and any gang connections and then keep monitoring them using surveillance techniques and monitoring their social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, which often enables police to spot any imminent criminal activity before it takes place.

Some aspects of the JRIP program involve the NYPD officers visiting troubled teenagers at home and school, providing them with educational and employment opportunities and offering social services to the troubled teenagers and their family members.

Although the JRIP program has sparked some fierce discussions about acceptable crime prevention methods and violation of civil rights, it seems to have brought positive results since its launch in 2007. According to the NYPD's records, in 2007, the teenagers invited into the program were arrested for a total of 180 robberies prior to entering the JRIP program, and in 2008, out of the same group of teenagers, the NYPD recorded only 29 arrests for robberies.

According to the NYPD, the JRIP program is about giving the juvenile offenders a choice between continuing in their criminal activities and consequently dealing with fast and severe punishment or, alternatively, they can choose to break the cycle and change their life by staying away from a criminal lifestyle.

However, not everyone agrees with the NYPD’s new approach to combatting juvenile crime. Some argue that the JRIP program intervenes too much with the basic civil rights, in particular with the right to privacy of the individuals involved in the program. Others argue that the NYPD ceased to fund other youth organizations and programs which were helping to reduce violence and crime and replaced them with the NYPD’s new initiative, the JRIP program.

However, despite the above arguments the feedback from the teenagers involved in the JRIP program and their families seems to be fairly positive showing that the JRIP program might be just the step needed to give these troubled teenagers a new chance in life.

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