G.R.E.A.T program steers kids away from joining gangs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  A program to help young kids stay away from the influence of gangs is set to start their summer programming Tuesday.

The G.R.E.A.T program stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training.

According to research, it’s a proven method to help reduce the chances a child joins a gang. The G.R.E.A.T. program is built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula. IMPD has been using it for a few years.

It’s now under the direction of the newly formed IMPD Neighborhood Outreach Office.

According to the GREAT program’s website there are five categories (called “domains”) that could contribute to a child joining a gang: individual, family, school, peer and neighborhood/community.

There is no one risk factor responsible for gang joining, but more of an accumulation of multiple risk factors across multiple areas that greatly increases the possibility that a kid will join a gang.

This week elementary school students begin the program, next week it’s middle school kids.

The program doesn’t just help the children. G.R.E.A.T. aims to help officers by building better relationships between law enforcement and the community.

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