By Jerry Freeman
The joint goal of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (YCB) and the Downtown Council last summer was “to interrupt a troubling behavior cycle of disruptive and disengaged youth” in the city’s downtown area.
“The results are more than impressive,” noted Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau at a February 13 morning ceremony at Minneapolis City Hall, pointing to a 42 percent reduction in juvenile crime in the downtown area and an eight percent decrease in overall violent crime last year. “There [also] was an 11 percent decrease in “late night” violent crime,” she added.
Harteau credits the work of the YCB, who partnered with local large corporations and community groups “to connect the troubled teens to opportunities. They promoted better behavior guidelines…offering the teens passes and bus tokens to help them get home safely.”
Sixteen YCB staff members were presented with the Chief’s Award of Merit Certificate during the City Hall ceremony: Akim Anderson, James Everett, Bryon Hawkins, Terrall Lewis, Tameika Williams, Shane Zahn, Latoya Balogun, Johnell Hallman, Wendell Johnson, Dave Marcotte, Darrell Young, Evan Barnett, Tangene Hayslett, Sarah Klouda, Jernell McLane and Amged Yusuf. They were individually recognized by Harteau in an hour-long ceremony in which the chief also honored several police officers for exemplary work.
Pam Mcbride was the project manager, and Evan Barnett and LaToya Balogun were team leaders.
“It’s not necessarily a problem with the youth of Minneapolis,” stated Johnell Hallman, the transportation coordinator with the Minneapolis Youth Congress, which works with city high school students. “It’s more so a need for passionate youth work.
“The award was a great opportunity for the team to get recognition for the work we do,” he pointed out. “It shed light on the great partnership between the Youth Coordinating Board, the Downtown Improvement District, and the Minneapolis Police Department.”
“We cannot even estimate how much time the board and the council put into planning, organizing and executing a plan that made downtown a better and safer place,” said Harteau of the YCB.
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