Juvenile Task Force Requires Personal Touch from Police

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The NYPD is trying a unique approach aimed to cut down on the number of juvenile offenders in the city by targeting those most as risk.

The goal of the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program -- or J-RIP -- is to have police focus on individual young people deemed to be most at risk to offend. The tactics are unconventional. Sometimes it means an officer making a house call, checking in with at-risk youths and doing favors for their families. Other times it could mean officers will monitor social media activity by creating dummy profiles.

New York Times reporter Wendy Ruderman said the approach is requires a lot of time and dedication from detectives.

“These officers tend to be officers who’ve been on the force for a long time. And as one of the detectives on the task force told me, ‘Look, I’ve been a homicide detective trying to solve homicide cases for years and now I want to try and do something to prevent it,” Ruderman said.

So far, the program is small, involving only a few hundred teenagers in East Harlem and Brownsville, Brooklyn. But the NYPD has given presentations about the initiative in conferences across the country.

Ruderman spoke Monday with WNYC’s Richard Hake.