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Undisputable Proof That Summer Jobs Reduce Violence and Crime in Urban Areas

Chicago Summer Work Program

The Youth Project, a non-profit organization in Chicago, has created a successful program they hope will serve as an example for other cities. The 8-week program offered summer jobs to low-income youth in 13 of Chicago's high-violence schools districts. The results proved without a doubt that job program do reduce violent crime.

How the program worked

The program was part of a study conducted by Sara Heller, a criminologist at University of Pennsylvania. She already knew that former research showed the effectiveness of jobs and youth programs in decreasing violent crime among youth. But she wanted to know if giving jobs to disadvantaged youth during the summer would have the same effect. According to Heller, the results showed that it did.

The study took place in the summer of 2012. A total of 1,634 students from the Chicago area participated. Most all the participants were minority youth, and all of them were from schools with a history of violent crime among youth. Some students were given 25-hours a week jobs, and others were assigned to 15 hours of work a week plus 10 hours of classes to teach them how to manage their emotions and actions. After completing the 8-week program and 16 weeks of follow up, the results showed a 43 percent decrease in violence over 16 months.

Hope for other youth

The program demonstrated that similar programs offer strong possibilities of accomplishing the same result, the reduction of violent crime among youth. Although other programs and locations may differ somewhat, they can make a huge difference in the lives of low-income youth in big city school districts who have a history of violent crime among youth. As Heller explained, “I hope that people get excited about the findings of this study and that it will serve as an example for other cities to follow – to evaluate which of their programs work and for whom.”

To read more, visit www.chicago-bureau.org/study-summer-job-programs-mitigate-violent-crime-among-disadvantaged-youth/

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