The Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy (TVRS) is a collaborative project between The College of New Jersey (Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research), The Trenton Police Department, and local social service providers – including UIH Family Partners and Family Guidance amongst others. Funded by the Office of the Attorney General, the goal of TVRS are to change the criminogenic behavior of a targeted population identified by the Trenton Police Department. This is done by mobilizing social service and outreach workers into neighborhoods experiencing high levels of criminal activity, working with individuals and families to reduce violence, and providing job training, life skills and other aid to young adults and families as an alternative to engaging in criminal behavior.
How it Works
Upon attending a “Call-in” and choosing to enter the program, participants and family members go through a baseline assessment and establish benchmarks with Family Guidance clinicians. Family Guidance then meets with the TVRS Coordinator, Abdul Muhammad, and the Case Manager at UIH to advise and strategize steps for project participants based on the baseline and benchmarks established. Outreach workers play a mentorship role – encouraging offenders and others to refrain from violence and illegal activities as well as supporting them to take advantage of social services. UIH provides various social services including life skills, job training, and overall case management of participants. TVRS also includes a research and evaluation component to ensure fidelity to the evidence-based programs TVRS is based upon, and results in a back-end outcome evaluation of the clients served through TVRS to measure program success.
One of the key pillars of TVRS is its reliance on local experts, and the sharing of knowledge to inform practices on the ground. The model emphasizes the importance of ongoing information gathering, data analysis, assessment, evaluation, and training. An interdisciplinary group of faculty experts from TCNJ oversee the research efforts; while other important members also contribute to the process, including: local law enforcement and community experts; a strong network of nonprofit organizations, colleges, and local government agencies that the New Jersey Attorney General’s (NJAG) Office helped to create via the Trenton Prevention Policy Board initiative.
Key Staff Involved
Heather Camp, Program Director for ACEL & Special Initiatives, Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research
- Principal Investigator, provides oversight of project
Abdul Muhammad, TVRS Coordinator
- Oversees outreach workers and coordinates services for program participants
Cassandra Gibson Associate Professor, Department of Counselor Education
- Research Leader, provides oversight of Social Services and conducts research on individual project participants
David Mazeika, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology
- Analyzes and maps crime within Trenton and correlates with targeted TVRS neighborhoods