Youth Violence

Gun violence is the leading cause of death for young people in America. But youth violence interventions can help keep kids safe and reach those who are the hardest to reach.

America’s gun violence problem is having an outsized impact on the most vulnerable members of our society — our kids. Fundamental disparities in public safety mean that children and young people live in communities that are disproportionately exposed to violence. Consistent exposure to gun violence has detrimental effects on mental health, emotional development, and academic engagement. For example, our research suggests that 38% of school-aged girls in Chicago public high schools citywide exhibit signs of PTSD — double the probability of PTSD in service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Undoing decades of disinvestment won’t happen overnight, but we need to find ways to keep kids safe and reach those who are hardest to reach.

The Crime Lab partners with local schools, community violence intervention programs, and criminal justice agencies to connect young people with behavioral and mental health supports to help them navigate difficult situations, boost academic involvement, and reduce violence involvement.

48%

Choose to Change, a program focused on gang-involved youth, found participants had 48% fewer violent crime arrests.

20%

Our evaluation of Becoming a Man found the program helped cut violent-crime arrests in half and boost high school graduation rates by nearly 20%.

Related Projects
Back to Our Future (B2OF)

Back to Our Future (B2OF)

Back to Our Future (B2OF) is a state-funded, district-led, evidence-informed effort to re-engage disconnected students at an elevated risk for gun violence involvement.

Read the new policy brief.

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Technical Assistance
CURRENT

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Technical Assistance

The Crime Lab has provided technical assistance to Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services and its service providers to aid in their efforts to more strategically direct their prevention and intervention services to those individuals most in need.

Youth Advocate Programs
CURRENT

Youth Advocate Programs

The Crime Lab and Education Lab, in partnership with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP), conducted a randomized controlled trial of YAP’s wraparound advocacy services to evaluate the program’s impact on youth academic outcomes and violence engagement outcomes.

The Dovetail Project
CURRENT

The Dovetail Project

Researchers at the Crime Lab, the University of California Berkeley, and Cornell University evaluated The Dovetail Project, a program that offers parenting supports for young fathers on Chicago’s South and West sides.

Related Resources
Supporting Student Re-Engagement: A Qualitative Exploration of the First Year Implementation of Back to Our Future
Report

Supporting Student Re-Engagement: A Qualitative Exploration of the First Year Implementation of Back to Our Future

Apr 2024

This report shares findings on the implementation of Back to Our Future, a state-funded, district-led, evidence-informed effort to re-engage disconnected students at an elevated risk for gun violence involvement.

B2OF Policy Brief: Supporting Youth Safety and Education Re-Engagement
Report

B2OF Policy Brief: Supporting Youth Safety and Education Re-Engagement

Dec 2023

This policy brief outlines the first year of implementation of Back to Our Future (B2OF), a state-funded, district-led, evidence-informed effort to re-engage disconnected students at an elevated risk for gun violence involvement.

Does Administrative Burden Deter Young People? Evidence from Summer Jobs Programs
Academic Paper

Does Administrative Burden Deter Young People? Evidence from Summer Jobs Programs

Aug 2022

This research paper examines the impact of administrative burden on the effectiveness of public social programs for young people, specifically summer jobs programs.

When Scale and Replication Work: Learning from Summer Youth Employment Experiments
Academic Paper

When Scale and Replication Work: Learning from Summer Youth Employment Experiments

Feb 2022

This research paper addresses the challenges of scaling up and replicating successful human capital interventions due to two key sources of variability: differences in the treatment itself and changes in the target population.

Latest Updates

The people’s plan for community safety – even more needed
Op-Ed
Chicago Tribune
May 2024

The people’s plan for community safety – even more needed

Read Crime Lab Faculty Director Jens Ludwig’s latest op-ed arguing that to reduce violence, we should leverage data science to figure out how to get more social good out of what the city is already spending on evidence-based strategies such as community violence intervention programs.

Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons: Can police misconduct be stopped before it starts?
Podcast
WBEZ
May 2024

Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons: Can police misconduct be stopped before it starts?

Crime Lab Senior Research Director Greg Stoddard joins Patrick Smith on WBEZ Reset to discuss results from a new study of an algorithm that can help identify which officers are likely to commit misconduct.

U. of C. study shows cops at high risk of misconduct also at elevated risk for off-duty trouble
Media Mention
Chicago Tribune
May 2024

U. of C. study shows cops at high risk of misconduct also at elevated risk for off-duty trouble

The Chicago Tribune’s Caroline Kubzansky speaks with Crime Lab Senior Research Director Greg Stoddard to discuss results from a new study of an officer support system.