Report Roundup

Do Segregated Schools Breed Crime Partnerships?

"Partners in Crime: Schools, Neighborhoods, and the Formation of Criminal Networks"

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Segregating poor minority students in impoverished schools not only makes it difficult for them to make the academic connections to get to college—it makes it much easier for students to instead make connections to crime.

In a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists Stephen Billings of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Stephen Ross of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and David Deming of the Harvard Graduate School of Education linked data from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., public schools with local police-arrest records.

Probability for Criminal Partnerships (Same School/Grade vs. Different School/Same Grade)

The likelihood that students who live near one another will team up for crime-related activities rises sharply if they also attend the same school, according to researchers who studied data on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

They found that students who lived within a kilometer of each other—walking distance to each others' houses, and close enough that they would probably see each other at local stores and parks—and who also attended the same school and grade were significantly more likely to be arrested together. Students were not more likely to be arrested together if they attended school together but lived farther away, or if they were neighbors on opposite sides of an attendance boundary.

"You can be in the same classes, and maybe it's a positive framework where you study together or do projects together," Billings said, "or maybe you both decide to skip or do something [delinquent] after school together."

Vol. 35, Issue 21, Page 5

Published in Print: February 17, 2016, as Do Segregated Schools Breed Crime Partnerships?
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories