Video Documents How Boston Dramatically Reduced Youth Violence

Production of material (video, Web, marketing) to communicate success of Boston Strategy to reduce youth homicide

Between 1999 and 2000, Mediawrights, a communications strategy and production company in Cambridge, Mass., developed a videotape, a website and marketing materials to describe the experience of the Boston Strategy to Prevent Youth Violence.

In response to a surge in youth violence in the early 1990s, a coalition of law-enforcement agencies, the judiciary, urban ministries, social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, university professors and others developed a series of coordinated interventions, known as the Boston Strategy, which dramatically reduced youth violence.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton launched a National Anti-Gang and Youth Violence Strategy modeled on the Boston Strategy, and the coalition began receiving many requests for guidance from other cities.

Key Results:

  • The 35-minute, documentary-style videotape produced under this contract, Unlikely Alliances: The Story of the Boston Strategy to Prevent Youth Violence, describes the Boston Strategy and lessons learned. It has been combined on one tape with Stories of Change and is available without charge.

    Project staff also created an extensive website (no longer active), which described the formation and activities of the coalition; offers resources, including a press section to help communities build support for similar initiatives; and provides links to related sites.
  • The project also resulted in a communications strategy that generated press coverage and editorials and led to informational presentations by coalition members. The Boston Police Department has distributed approximately half the 600 videos produced, and coalition members continue to make presentations across the country to interested community leaders.

Funding: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a contract of $199,000 between March 1999 and June 2000.

The RWJF contract supplemented earlier RWJF grants, including one to the Boston Police Department to support youth-related activities (ID# 036449) and another to produce a videotape, The Boston Strategy: Stories of Change (See Program Results on ID# 034184).

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