An important new outreach program seeks to reduce gun violence among local youth with a series of provocative images directed at teens. The first of the images to be featured on local billboards and transit shelters asks teens to tell someone when they see a gun at school.
Local teens were the first ones consulted when the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force began work on an anti-gun crime and violence program for
youth. SANDAG was asked to create the public awareness program. The program includes outdoor advertising and the distribution of posters to area middle and high schools, recreation and youth centers, and other areas where teens “hang out.” Distribution of gun locks at local schools and other locations also is underway. An anti-violence curriculum for teachers and youth leaders also will be implemented as part of the program.
“We went to local teens and asked them what would grab their attention for an anti-gun violence campaign,” said Chula Vista Mayor and SANDAG Public Safety Committee Chair Steve Padilla. “They told us to show the reality, tell the truth about what happens when teens use a gun. These images tell that story.”
The poster and program messages were developed based on focus group research with nearly 300 local middle and high school students and through one-on-one interviews with
area teens booked into Juvenile Hall to ensure the message would resonate with youth. The resulting messages and poster designs reflect what the youth call the “reality” of crime and violence. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal initiative to address gun crime and violence and is administered locally through the U.S. Attorneys’ Office.
The local Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force includes representatives from local law enforcement agencies, SANDAG, The Children’s Initiative, U.S. Attorney’s Office, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), and the San Diego County Probation Department.