A few years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city's high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant to connect students to work, but officials also hoped that it might reduce crime-related problems that arise when there's no work to be found.
The program produced some unexpected positive results, including a major reduction in crime, even long after the summer program had concluded. Researcher Sara Heller, of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, conducted the research and one of her observations was:
"A lot of things could be going on here. Teenagers who might have committed crime to get money would no longer need to when they have a job. If their added income allowed parents to work less, they may also have gotten more adult supervision. It's also possible that students who were busy working simply didn't have idle time over the summer to commit crime — but that theory doesn't explain the long-term declines in violent arrests that occurred well after the summer program was over."
Whatever the combination of reasons that crime decreased among this population of teens, it makes sense that kids need jobs, which also serve as a great deterrent to at-risk behavior. When the conversation about solutions in our communities shifts to justice, poverty and jobs must be at the center of that conversation.
Read the whole story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/08/one-cheap-way-to-curb-crime-give-teens-a-summer-job/
Related article: The Death of Business and Jobs in Ferguson
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