Evaluating the Short-Term Impact of Gang Prevention Services on a Sample of Los Angeles Youth using Local Randomization Regression Discontinuity Design
Since 2009, the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) has provided gang prevention services to at-risk youth ages 10 to 15 throughout the city. Youth are assigned to secondary prevention (full program) or primary prevention (reduced program) based on a score computed from the YSET, an attitudinal and behavioral assessment developed by GRYD. The same assessment is repeated periodically to track client progress. In this paper, we employ a local randomization regression discontinuity design (RDD) to assess the causal intention-to-treat (ITT) effect on retest YSET responses for a matched sample of barely eligible and barely ineligible individuals. We fail to find evidence of an ITT effect on most outcomes tested. Our analysis relies on strong assumptions and is limited by the available data. We believe additional data are essential for better evaluation of the impact of this extensive city-wide program.