Why High School Graduation is the Key to Improving At-Risk Communities (Part 4 of 5)

Posted by Frank Britt on 9/8/14 11:00 AM

What Drives (and Improves) Crime Rates in a Community?  

Why High School Graduation is the Key to Improving At-Risk CommunitiesYouth entrenched in monetary struggles without a high school education are at high risk for being involved in crime, arrest, and incarceration. Crime rates are linked to educational attainment, according to a 2013 report by the Alliance for Excellent Education. The report, entitled "Saving Futures, Saving Dollars: The Impact of Education on Crime Reduction and Earnings," asserts that if male high school graduation rates increased by just 5 percent, the nation could save about $18.5 billion in annual crime expenses. The lower the education attainment levels, the higher the rates of arrest and incarceration.

Reforming school climates and increasing student engagement can help move vulnerable young people away from crime and prison and toward college and a career path, says President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Bob Wise. "The school-to-prison pipeline starts and ends with schools," Wise said.

Not only will elevating high school graduation rates for male students cut state crime costs, but educating male youth will reduce total criminal activity nationwide, the report predicts, including fewer incidences of:

   -  Assault by an average of 60,000 annually

   -  Larceny by more than 37,000

   -  Motor vehicle theft by more than 31,000

   -  Burglaries by more than 17,000

   -  Murders (average 1,300), rape occurrences (more than 3,800) and robberies (more than 1,500)

The following statistics also support the compelling connections among education, crime rates, and the economy:

   -  It costs $12,643 to educate one student in one year; it costs $28,232 to house one inmate

   -  56% of federal inmates, 67% of state inmates and 69% of local inmates didn't finish high school

   -  The U.S. economy is projected to have additional annual earnings of about $1.2 billion with increased graduation rates


What do you think of the connection between crime rates and education level? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.


Read Part 1: A Case for Action and Where to Start

Read Part 2: What Drives (and Improves) Economic and Productivity Growth in a Community

Read Part 3: What Drives (and Improves) Poverty and Income Inequality in a Community



Topics: Dropout Crisis, High School Completion, Opportunity Youth


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