Violence, crime, and murder rates are major problems in urban centers for minority youth, especially for Black, non-Hispanic males, ages 10-24, where the murder rate is over 15 times that of White, non-Hispanic males. Eleven of 17 YEP grantees address violence with YEP programming.
All YEPs must offer a youth center, after-school program, mentorship, and intensive summer programming. These activities help keep at-risk youth off the streets when school is not in session, and provide the opportunity to deliver anti-violence programming to reduce violent behavior and promote impulse control.
To assess the effects of YEP programming, many YEP grantees have collected objective data pertaining to outcome measures of behavior within the schools, or in the community, that pertain to violence including school suspensions, school disciplinary actions, and arrests. For the 2010-11 academic year, the rates of YEP student school suspensions, disciplinary incidents, and arrest rates were compared against control, school, district, city, or county normative data for similar age- and race-matched students. Data were normalized per 100 students to allow comparison to the rate in the YEP cohort.
Seven programs provided school suspension data, four provided school disciplinary incident data, and nine provided arrest data in their YEP cohort. Data were averaged and compared to a local normative data set for each variable. The data are shown in figures 3-3, 3-4, and 3-5.
Student suspension rates were calculated for each YEP grantee cohort. Each grantee also provided a normative suspension rate from the local school or school district, also calculated per 100 students.
These YEP and normative rates were averaged across the reporting YEP grantees (Figure 3-3). The data show that the suspension rate in the comparison groups was more than 2.5 times higher than the rate in the YEP students (p <.04). Institutions that provided suspension data for this analysis were Columbus State Community College, Marquette University, Oregon Health & Science University, University of Pennsylvania, Tennessee State University, Towson University, and Swarthmore College.
School disciplinary incident rates per 100 YEP students from four YEP grantees averaged less than one-third that of local comparison groups (Figure 3-4) which trended toward, but did not reach statistical significance due to the low sample size (p > .13). Disciplinary incident data were provided for this analysis by Columbus State Community College, CUNY–Medgar Evers College, Tennessee State University, and Wichita State University.
Finally, juvenile arrest data were obtained from nine YEP grantees in the same manner and compared to a local rate again per 100 students. Arrest rates were over five times higher in non-YEP local students than in the YEP cohort (Figure 3-5) (p < .001). This comparison was matched for race, age, and location. Arrest data from these YEP grantees were averaged for this analysis: Columbus State Community College, CUNY–Medgar Evers College, Marquette University, Oregon Health & Science University, University of Pennsylvania, Towson University, Stone Child College, Swarthmore College, and Wichita State University. Two programs, featured below, focus specifically on Black, non-Hispanic students, in an urban setting where violence is commonplace.
As recently as 2010, Dayton, OH, was the 20th most dangerous city of the 369 largest cities in the US. Violence in Dayton disproportionately affects Black, non-Hispanic youth, comprising the largest percentage of juvenile arrests of any racial group. In Montgomery County, home to Dayton, 17% of the juvenile population are arrested each year, with an arrest rate of 38% in juvenile Black youth. The KRUNKED for Life (K4L) program is offered by Central State University to support 30 Black males, ages 12-17, in Dayton’s inner city. KRUNKED refers to Keepin’ It Real through Unity, Nonviolence, Kreativity, Education, and Determination. The K4L Program has a unique model using Hip-Hop music to deliver positive messages about self-respect, respect for women, and anti-violence, while students learn about performing and the technical aspects of the music industry. K4L features many motivational, successful Black male role models who teach the values of academic excellence, impulse control, and hope in group activities. Tutoring and mentorship by Central State undergraduate students after-school are essential components. The intensive nature of the K4L is distinctive in that students have access to 16 hours of programming each week with two-thirds of the students attending everyday. In its most recent year of operation, the arrest rate in Central State’s K4L program was only 3%. Accordingly, the K4L arrest rate is well below the 38% normative arrest rate in Montgomery County for Black males of simililar age, suggesting that the K4L program is effective in reducing violent and criminal behavior. (View the K4L video.)
EYES serves 35 students, ages 12-17, 80% of whom are Black, non-Hispanic, and 20% of whom are Hispanic. Recent statistics show that CUNY–ME’s target area (Crown Heights/Bedford–Stuyvesant) has the highest level of crime and violence among the five boroughs of New York, including drug abuse. Youth in these neighborhoods are surrounded by violence and crime. The population is largely undereducated, as evidenced by low high school graduation rates, high drop-out rates, low student performance, and high prevalence of crime. In addition, the youth in this neighborhood have high rates of substance abuse, including use of marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy. By stark contrast, in the first two years of the EYES Project, none of the participants have been arrested for drug possession or use.
In fact, no arrests of any kind were made in the EYES cohort of 35 participants, while six arrests were made in the control group of 35 age-matched local students during the same time period. (View the EYES Project video).