Street outreach workers are an important part of the Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative (CSI) comprehensive gang and youth violence reduction strategy in Massachusetts. Street outreach involves the use of individuals to "work the streets," making contact with youth in neighborhoods with high levels of gang activity. These individuals are generally not employed by the criminal justice system agencies but rather are based in community service organizations or other non- governmental agencies. Street outreach workers provide an important bridge between the community, gang-involved youth, and the agencies (whether social service or law enforcement) that respond to the problems of delinquency and gangs.

This guide offers information, guidance, and lessons learned from street outreach programs nationally and within the Massachusetts Shannon CSI communities to help guide existing street outreach programs and support communities considering developing new street outreach programs. The guide provides the following information:

• History of street outreach worker programs in the United States
• Functions and characteristics of street outreach worker programs
• Street outreach programs in Massachusetts
• Challenges of street outreach worker programs and recommendations for success


Report produced by the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University. This project was supported by Grant #2005-DB-BX-0014, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) Office of Grants and Research.


youth violence reduction, gang violence reduction, street outreach workers

Subject Categories

Gang prevention, Violence in adolescence, Violence in children, Juvenile delinquency


Criminology and Criminal Justice


Northeastern University

Publication Date


Rights Holder

Northeastern University

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