ON-Lion Letter
Motor-vehicle thefts around seven of the eight Milwaukee public high schools in the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise's (CNE's) Violence-Free Zone (VFZ) program dropped 25% from November 2007 to November 2008, according to research from Baylor University released in March.  Citywide, during the same time period, auto thefts decreased 6%.

The VFZ model employs trusted neighborhood leaders to mediate conflict, promote strong moral character, provide employment assistance, and help transform young people from destructive gang warriors into purposeful community builders.  In Milwaukee, the program is being implemented by CNE and its community partners, the Latino Community Center and the Running Rebels Community Organization.

Around the same seven Milwaukee VFZ schools, according to the report by Baylor Institute for Religious Studies scholars Byron R. Johnson and William Wubbenhorst -- between the 2006-07 academic year, when the VFZs began there, and 2008-09 -- violent incidents were also down 11%, nonviolent incidents were down 21%, suspension rates were down 7%, and total suspensions were down 29.6%.  The eighth school, Vincent High School, joined the program in September 2009.

"We are pleased that the independent case study shows that the Violence-Free Zone is continuing to produce reductions in violent and non-violent incidents and suspensions, in a time when youth violence and disruptions are increasing not only in Milwaukee schools but around the country," CNE president and Bradley Prize recipient Bob Woodson said.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports CNE, its VFZ program in Milwaukee, the Latino Community Center, and the Running Rebels Community Organization.
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