Parents: Do you know where your kids are this summer? The answer could be a matter of life and death


(LOS ANGELES)—While gang membership and some violent crime levels are on the rise, a new study commissioned by international charity World Vision says nearly half (45 percent) of U.S. adults believe “lack of adult supervision” is the main cause of gang violence among youth. The telephone survey conducted in May, 2011 by Harris Interactive among 1,036 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older) also indicates that for the third year in a row, the vast majority (75 percent) of adults think prevention (educational outreach to at-risk youth by community and church organizations) is more effective than law enforcement (17 percent) (hiring more police to arrest youth who commit gang violence) in addressing the problem of gang violence among youth. Almost seven out of ten adults (68 percent) believe gang violence is increasing as a result of the current economic climate. This is the third year World Vision has commissioned a Youth Violence Survey.

Despite federal crime levels dropping 5.5 percent last year, The FBI says murder and other violent crimes rose almost 14 percent, In cities population 250,000 to half a million, murder jumped 3 percent. In New York City the number of murder cases jumped almost 14 percent. Approximately one million gang members belonging to more than 20,000 gangs were criminally active nationwide in 2008 (National Gang Threat Assessment 2009). Some reports put Chicago gang membership up to 105,000 in 2010 from nearly 70,000 in 2000.

Chicago—Chicago Police say 81 percent of homicides in the first seven months [in 2010] were gang-related. See Christian Science Monitor Report

Los Angeles County—Law enforcement aware of more than 1,300 street gangs with over 150,000 members. See full PDF

Seattle—As of 2010 there are some 300 active street gangs in Wash State with approximately 15,000 active gang members. See Public Intelligence Report

World Vision’s Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) is a national effort that trains youth to be agents of positive change in struggling communities. On July 11-15, YEP will bring 130 teens from Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, New York, and other areas to the nation’s Capitol to advocate for issues directly effecting them, including youth violence. During their visit, teens will advocate for passage of the Youth Promise Act (federal youth violence prevention legislation) before Congress.

“When we allow gang violence to circulate, we allow it to rip into the fabric of life,” says World Vision’s Senior Youth Development Associate, Dr. Faye Estrada. “Each shooting, stabbing, robbery and funeral shreds the integrity of our families, schools and neighborhoods.” Estrada lives in Southern California and works with at-risk youth in the YEP.

About the Survey:
The 2011 Youth Violence survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of World Vision, Inc. All data collection was done by telephone within the United States from May 13th – 16th, 2011 among 1,030 adults 18 years of age and older.

About Harris Interactive:
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information:

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world’s poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews

John Yeager
425.765.9845 (c)