Youth Crime Watch is about young people getting involved in schools and communities to prevent crime, drug abuse and violence from occurring. Knowledge and information precede involvement and action, therefore, potential participants should be convinced of the value of the action they are asked to take. That is why crime, violence, and drug prevention education is a central formal component of Youth Crime Watch. Education should be ongoing in the core group meetings, in the assemblies and general meetings, and in action projects.
Most Youth Crime Watch programs are not based on curriculum components in the school, school system or community programs, although they can be. This does not diminish the critical importance of a crime, violence, and drug prevention education effort. Education is the foundation of the Youth Crime Watch effort to change attitudes, knowledge, and behaviours.
Purposes of Education
Remember that education is broader than the teaching component of Youth Crime Watch. Education may involve approaches and materials such as public service announcements, music, drama, posters, forums, and many other approaches that are not always seen as teaching.
There are many different reasons to educate; your plan for educating will be based in part on the nature of the educational objective you have.
* Youth Crime Watch may undertake crime, violence, or drug prevention to promote a single kind of action such as students never letting their book bags out of their immediate control or sight.
* Another purpose may be to get youth or others involved in a whole range of activities such as being a member of Youth Crime Watch.
* In other cases, the goal may be to have those who are educated at an assembly appreciate something, such as the Youth Crime Watch leaders or programs.
* Yet another very important educational goal is to educate so that people understand a problem and are ready to take action to prevent or stop it. Such an example might involve a type of crime perpetrated by youth. The action taken can be to educate as to how to take immediate action against the crime and prevention efforts to reduce re-occurrences. We can prevent others from getting involved by finding out why and how young people got involved and developing appropriate prevention measures.
* Of course, a major purpose of education is to have those educated refine their skills. Sometimes the education (information and knowledge) precedes actual skills training.
Approaching to Educating
There are many different approaches to educating the people YCW wants to reach, and these include many ways other than face-to-face presentations:
• Television or radio public service announcements.
• Flyers, bookcovers, bookmarks, or brochures mailed, handed out or made available at various locations.
• Music, rap, poetry, dramatic readings, drama, and dance.
• Forums, debates, discussions, and critical thinking groups.
• Surveys which educate both those doing the survey and those being surveyed.
• World Wide Web sites.
• Hotlines (Telephone and computer)
• Games that have a purpose of teaching prevention message.
• Tests or quizzes.
• Resource persons who bring experience and learning to the group to be educated.
All of these approaches are in addition to the traditional ones that have been used effectively:
• Classroom curriculum, either as a curriculum insert or as a freestanding course.
• Service learning, which engages youth in reflection through involvement in community service.
• Face-to-face presentations by Youth Crime Watchers for peers, younger youth, or members of the community.