Crime, Education and Charity
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 start of a new trend. People studying crime tell us they can see no easy explanations, other than the 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, and it accounts for 49 percent of all murder victims, states the FBI.
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 in three families are under the poverty level. A culture of drugs and gang, 1,000 deaths annually. Kids are into violent acts like selling 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.
The best news is that almost half of the kids enrolled in the education program believe that it helped deter them from drugs.
About the Author: Kristin Gabriel has been writing about non-profits for over 20 years and has taken an interest in the work being done by the Joe DiMaggio Committee for Xaverian High School and Children of the City and their Board Member Rocco Basile.
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