Adapting and Implementing a Gang Reduction & Youth Development Model

The Challenge

Gun violence remains a significant challenge in Philadelphia. In 2023, there were a total of 410 homicides, a number that, though slightly lower than the previous year, still represents a staggering loss of life. Additionally, there were 1,293 nonfatal shooting victims. Taken together, these numbers indicate that an average of four people were shot—fatally or non-fatally—for each day of the year. As in many urban centers, Philadelphia’s gun violence can be attributed in part to neighborhood group activity, particularly in certain police districts. Despite efforts to mitigate this problem, community members and policymakers are increasingly concerned about progressively younger people becoming involved in these activities.

The Project

Through this Stoneleigh Fellowship, David Irizarry is studying, adapting, and implementing a Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) model in Philadelphia. This model, which was originally piloted in Los Angeles, focuses on improving the health and well-being of families and communities through engagement and by preventing violence and promoting prosocial decisions and behaviors among youth and emerging adults.

This Stoneleigh Fellowship will enable David to:

  • Conduct an assessment of Philadelphia’s current violence prevention and intervention infrastructure, identify its challenges, and determine the geographical regions where the GRYD model could have a significant positive impact on public safety.
  • Conduct a pilot of the GRYD model in Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District, while building trust with key stakeholders, ensuring alignment with the city’s overarching vision for reducing gun violence, and facilitating effective communication and coordinated responses.
  • Evaluate the implementation of the GRYD model, including assessing its processes, partnerships, and efficacy in reducing gun violence in a targeted geographical area. Ultimately, David and his partners will work to establish the strategy’s operational effectiveness in multiple communities across Philadelphia.

David Irizarry, M.Ed.

Stoneleigh Fellow

2024 – 2027

Director, Gang Reduction and Youth Development

Philadelphia Police Department