Family and Community Capacities among US Minorities: a Key to Preventing Violent Extremism

The emergence of community policing divisions conducting engagement, prevention, and coordination in Muslim American communities under threat with a countering violent extremism focus is an important new development, with the Los Angeles Police Department at the lead. However, it raises questions that require further study. The proposed research specifically focuses on developing an empirically based model for enhancing current community policing strategies for engagement and prevention using psychosocial strategies in Muslim American communities under threat. This will be accomplished by conducting a focused investigation with ethnographic methods in two U.S. cities with significant Muslim diasporas—to examine if and how community policing programs might bolster essential family and community protective resources to reduce the potential for violence extremism among youth and young adults in these communities. This research is based on an NIH and DHS funded program of research which has focused on understanding the resilience that lies in families and communities and how that can be enhanced by preventive interventions. The specific aims are to: 1) Examine the engagement and prevention practices of countering violent extremism law enforcement in community context through ethnographic methods to characterize how community and family protective resources could be further enhanced through community policing psychosocial preventive interventions; 2) Examine how family and ecological (e.g. social environmental) protective resources vary across sociocultural context and services sectors and how this would facilitate or impede the implementation of community policing psychosocial preventive interventions; 3) Develop a prevention model, core intervention strategies, and assessment tool of community resilience to violent extremism through the convening of a joint psychosocial/law enforcement/community working group.

Funded by the Department of Homeland Security

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