Step One: Define the Problem

Darcy makes a trip down to the Devonville Police Department and meets with a crime analyst who pulls juvenile arrest statistics from their database. Darcy and and the crime analyst note that a large number of juvenile arrests in the NW quadrant are taking place during school hours.  Also, there has been a 5% increase in juvenile arrests in the NW quadrant in the past two years, while there has been little change in the juvenile arrests in the rest of the city.

Darcy also speaks with the principals in charge of the three public high schools in the NW quadrant to see if they have any helpful information.  Darcy learns that these schools have had a 25% increase in truancy and 20% increase in dropout among students in the last two years.  The principals note that these truancy and dropout increases are much higher than schools in other parts of the city of Devonville.

Based on the information from the police and school system, Darcy defines the problem as follows:

The NW quadrant has experienced a 5% increase in juvenile crime in the past two years. There has been no significant increase in juvenile crime in the rest of the city. In addition, there has been a 25% increase in the truancy and a 20% increase in school dropout for the public high schools in the NW quadrant for each of the last two years.  The increases in truancy and dropout are also unique to the NW area of Devonville, and may be contributing to the juvenile crime problem.

Darcy has decided to review research on programs that have addressed these problems effectively with youth similar to those in NW Devonville.  After reviewing this research, she will select an evidence-based program that is appropriate for her target population.

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