Target: Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago
Goal: Applaud summer job program for reducing violent crime among its youth participants
Chicago youth and young adults taking part in a summer job program have contributed to a lower crime rate in the violence-torn city. The program, One Summer, provides over 22,000 part-time, minimum wage jobs and internships annually in non-profit and government sectors. Students in the program work 25 hours per week for eight weeks as office assistants, youth counselors, or gardeners, among other professions, and obtain valuable work experience in the process.
A study of the program found that violent crime rates dropped by nearly half in students enrolled in the program versus a random sampling of students who were not working. The study found the effects to be long-lasting, with crime rates the lowest and continuing to drop 16 months after participation. The results suggest that preventative measures such as the summer job program could be much cheaper and more effective than remediation measures such as incarceration.
In past years, Chicago has seen a troubling upswing in violent crimes, especially among youth and young adults. A disproportionate number of victims are minorities, with 80 percent of victims of violence in the Chicago Public School system African American and another 19 percent Latino. A study of one public school showed that half the attending students had witnessed someone being injured or killed in non-gang violence.
The current system of jailing youth offenders in overcrowded facilities is having little impact on crime rates. Increasingly, community outreach and violence prevention programs such as One Summer are proving to be cheap and viable alternatives to incarceration. Sign the petition below to applaud the success of the One Summer program, and urge its continued growth.
Dear Mayor Emanuel,
Violent crime arrests among students participating in the One Summer Chicago job program has dropped by nearly half. The program employs youth and young adults for eight weeks during the summer part-time at government or non-profit agencies. They have entry-level jobs such as office assistants or youth counselors, obtaining an income as well as work experience.
The program has done more to address youth violence than many police-run remediation programs, and if allowed to grow, could put a serious dent in rising youth violence. We, the undersigned, applaud the success of of the One Summer program and ask that it be allowed to expand.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Yumi Kimura via Creative Commons