Gang Resistance Is Paramount

Prevention; Ages 7–15

Effectiveness

(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Promising gang program

Description

In an attempt to curb gang membership and discourage future gang involvement, the city of Paramount, California, initiated the Gang Resistance Is Paramount (GRIP) program. The city of Paramount and the Paramount Unified School District have been collaborating for 20 years to provide the GRIP program to Paramount children and their parents. The program includes three major components. The first involves neighborhood meetings that provide parents with support, assistance, and resources as they try to prevent their children from joining gangs. The second component comprises a 15-week course for fifth-grade students and a 10-week course for second-grade students. The lessons deal with graffiti, peer pressure, tattoos, the impact of gang activity on family members, drug abuse, and alternative activities and opportunities. Finally, a school-based follow-up program is implemented at the ninth-grade level to reinforce what children learned in the elementary grades. The program is designed to build self-esteem and also focuses on the consequences of a criminal lifestyle, the benefits of higher education, and future career opportunities.

GRIP has been evaluated in six separate studies. The first two tested elementary students before and after participation in the program. Prior to the program, 50 percent of students were undecided about gang involvement; after participation, 90 percent responded negatively toward gangs compared with a control group who showed no change over that time period. The third and forth studies surveyed seventh- and ninth-graders who had participated in the program; both showed that 90 percent still had negative attitudes toward gangs. The fifth study cross-checked the names of program participants with police records and found that 96 percent were not identified as gang members. The sixth study showed that only 6 percent of ninth-graders who had participated in GRIP reported being involved in gang activity compared with 9 percent of youths in the control group.

Risk Factors

Individual
Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
Early and persistent noncompliant behavior
Early onset of aggression/violence
Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
General delinquency involvement
High alcohol/drug use
Lack of guilt and empathy
Low perceived likelihood of being caught
Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)
Physical violence/aggression
Poor refusal skills
Victimization and exposure to violence
Violent victimization
School
Low academic aspirations
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers
Unsafe schools
Community
Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood
Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood
Low neighborhood attachment
Neighborhood youth in trouble
Peer
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Association with gang-involved peers/relatives
Peer alcohol/drug use
Peer rejection

Endorsements

National Gang Center: Promising program

Merit Award winner by the Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership and the California Center for Civic Renewal

Contact

Community Services and Recreation Department
15300 Downey Ave.
Paramount, CA
Phone: (562) 220-2121

References

Arnette, J. L., and Walsleben, M. C. (1998). “Combating Fear and Restoring Safety in Schools.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Solis, A., Schwartz, W., and Hinton, T. (2003). Gang Resistance Is Paramount (GRIP) Program Evaluation: Final Report October 1, 2003. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, USC Center for Economic Development.

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