Will Education and Charity Help Prevent Crime?

By: Kristin Deann Gabriel

A recent Wall Street Journal article called, "Murder Spike Poses Quandary" talks about how criminologists are offering a number of explanations for an increase in the murder rate in some cities over the last month. In Washington in April 2008 there were 18 murders during a 13 day violence spurt, 20 percent deadlier than one year ago.

Other cities including Chicago and Philadelphia had similar murder waves during the same period. This leads criminologists to wonder if this signifies the srat of a new trend. People studying crime tell us they can see no easy explanations, other than the usual usual reasons like poverty, gangs, easy access to guns and the economy.

Murder rate statistics overall have dropped for years, but lately have been inching up in the black community -- accounting for only 13 percent of the country's population.

However more African-Americans are killed in the U.S. than any other racial group, accounting for 49 percent of all murder victims, says the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

One county medical examiner in Cincinnati who analyzed all the available data on his region's most recent murder victims thinks that the reason is lack of education. This Hamilton County medical examiner studied the death certificates of his victims and realized that 60 percent of them had quit school over a five-year period.

There are a number of organizations that are trying to do something about the negative aspects in their communities, including Children of the City in Brooklyn who believe that improving the quality of life involves breaking the cyclical effects of poverty, therefore giving families hope. In this community alone there is a 48 percent high school drop out rate. With 30,000 children, that means 15,000 are dropping out. One out of every three families in this community are under the poverty level. A culture of drugs and gang, 1,000 deaths annually. Youth today are into violent acts and drugs.

They believe that the only way to fix the problem is via educating kids and their families. For more than two and a half decades, this group of volunteers has been making a difference through programs like its Create Success program, countering the near 50 percent drop out rate and instigating positive change.

Almost half of the kids enrolled in this education program believe that it helped them stay off of drugs, and gave them confidence and hope for a better future.

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