According to the Chicago Tribune, a study released this Friday by the University of Chicago's Crime Lab has found that a school-based youth mentoring program has been effective in reducing arrests and increasing graduation rates of those students involved in the program. The Becoming a Man (BAM) program provides mentoring services, including teaching goal setting and conflict resolution skills, to 800 disadvantaged boys from seventh through 10th grade from 18 different Chicago schools.
Here are some details and statistics from the University of Chicago's Crime Lab study and the anti-crime implications the program provides:
* The study specifically looked at the BAM-Sports Edition during the 2009-2010 school year. It included a study group and a control group of disadvantaged students who did not enroll in the program.
* Researchers presented their findings at Harper High School, which was one of the schools that enrolled students into the BAM program.
* Some of the other schools were Austin Polytech High School, Bannekar Elementary School, Bass Elementary, Clemente High School, Crane High School, Douglass High School, Fenger High School, Jordan Elementary School, Juarez High School, Orr High School, Parker Elementary School, Robeson High School and Yale Elementary School.
* Approximately $1,100 was spent per participant in BAM, but the estimated financial benefit to society due to a reduction in criminal behavior ranged from $3,600 to $34,000 per participant, with the disparity due to the different methods of calculation.
* It reduced arrests for violent crimes among the youths by 8.1 arrests per 100 youths, or a 44 percent drop, during the duration of the program.
* Additionally, it is likely that the program will have a future impact by increasing the group's graduation rate between 10 to 23 percent.
* The program reduced arrests for other crimes, like trespassing, vandalism, and weapons possession, by 11.5 arrests per 100 participating individuals, or 36 percent.
* The biggest decrease was a 53 percent drop in the likelihood of participants attending a school within a juvenile justice facility.
* Because of the success of the program, the Crime Lab is working with non-profit partners to expand the program to 2,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students over the next three years.
* Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy commented on the program and the study by saying, "The findings from this study are vitally important for Chicago and every other city seeking to reduce crime and violence. The best strategy is to deal with crime and violence before they happen and this study has proven that prevention is possible."
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.