Urban Peace Academy
Advancement Project’s Urban Peace Academy uses a comprehensive approach to reducing and ultimately ending gang violence in communities. We began the Urban Peace Academy because of Los Angeles’ failed and costly 20 year “war on gangs” that resulted in 450,000 youth arrests and persistent conflict between law enforcement and communities of color.
Despite 20 years of investment, L.A. still has unacceptably high concentrations of gang violence that are destroying communities. It is estimated that 90% of the 300,000 children who live in gang violence hot zones have been exposed to chronic violence as victims or witnesses; 27% of these children suffer from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
The Urban Peace Academy, the only one of its kind in the nation, is a critical component of our overall strategy because it develops the teams of trained professionals who will together respond to and reduce violence in Los Angeles’ hot zone communities.
The Los Angeles Times highlights the Academy in "An Educated Weapon will Combat Gangs".
The New York Times wrote about the Academy in "LA to Train Anti-Gang Workers in New Academy".
Advancement Project's Urban Peace Academy provided all the training for Long Beach's Summer Night Lights, which consisted of one day of training for community partners, one day for the Long Beach Police Department, and three days of trainings for youth squads and outreach workers. Watch this short video to see how the Summer Night Lights program has positively affected Long Beach:
The Academy currently operates:
- 140 hour basic training of entry-level gang intervention workers;
- Continuing educational training for veteran gang intervention practitioners; and
- Law enforcement training to understand the role of gang intervention workers in the community as independent violence reduction professionals.
Now in its 3rd year, nearly 1,200 have been trained through the academy. Over 800 gang interventionists are certified to work for the City’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development programs. Additionally, we also trained over 400 Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officers with field responsibilities in gang hot zones. Academy leadership also works with the City and the County of Los Angeles to operationalize summer safety programs. Under construction are tailored training for County and City parks and recreation workers, emergency room doctors and nurses and other hospital staff, and fire and other safety personnel who are critical to implementing a comprehensive neighborhood safety strategy.
The Urban Peace Academy is a collaboration among the Urban Peace program, University of Southern California, law enforcement and diverse street-level practitioners. The Academy designs its curriculum and standards of practice through multi-disciplinary committees that bring diverse cultures, disciplines and experience to the table and therefore, its courses are responsive to the needs of the practitioners, evolve with the changing realities on the ground and are effective.