Experiencing and engaging in violent and/or delinquent behavior during childhood and adolescence is often associated with negative consequences into adulthood and increases the likelihood of isolation from the rest of society. The goal of preventive measures is to prevent social behavior problems from arising and taking hold at an early stage, thereby promoting the positive development of children and teens on a long-term basis.
The Berlin police have been involved in efforts to prevent violence and delinquency at schools in Berlin since 1992. With anti-violence events used widely at schools in Berlin, the Berlin police are taking a universal approach geared toward primary prevention, with the goal of using a combination of teaching and behavior training to prevent violent and delinquent behavior from arising among children and teens.
This study focuses in particular on the question of how well the measures taken by the police to prevent violence succeed in reducing attitudes and behaviors associated with violence and delinquency among elementary and secondary school students in Berlin and in lowering the average level of aggression in school classes. Alongside reviewing the effectiveness of these police measures (effectiveness evaluation), the researchers are also studying how reliably the measures included in the program are implemented (process evaluation). In an approach that embraces multiple perspectives, the attitudes and expectations of various interested parties (students, teachers, those tasked with prevention, school administrators) are viewed in context with each other in order to review the effectiveness and functionality of the cooperation between schools and the police.
In a longitudinal experimental control group design, about 2,000 students, 80 teachers, and 80 police officers are being surveyed. The study also includes a one-time survey of about 200 school principals in Berlin. Once this step is complete, we expect to be able to make nuanced statements regarding the effectiveness and integrity of the preventive measures taken by the Berlin police, which can then be used as the basis for recommendations as to what actions to take in dealing with youth violence and delinquent behavior in police and school practice.