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Safe Neighborhoods, Bright Futures

Investigating the Relationship between Urban Crime and College Enrollment in Chicago’s Public School System

Project Lead:

Abby Adigun


Angela Joo, Isabela Avila Rios, Taryn Kim, Matthew Lee, Vichar Lochan, Sarah Murad, Taryn Murphy, Enzo Nakornsri


Understanding the impact of different types of violent crime on college enrollment is crucial for developing effective strategies to support educational attainment in urban environments. Thus, this research paper investigates the relationship between violent crime and college enrollment in public school districts of Chicago, examining key distinctions between high, medium, and low crime areas. Theoretical frameworks, including social isolation, legal socialization, and strain theory, offer insights into the underlying mechanisms driving the relationship between crime and college enrollment. We analyze data from the official database of crime collected by the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Public Schools, which we obtained through a partnership with the Crown School of Social Work. We find a notable trend of increasing enrollment coupled with decreasing persistence in high and medium-crime areas, suggesting a need for targeted interventions. Proposed solutions aim to address the lack of support systems and the complexities surrounding college enrollment. In conclusion, this research underscores the interconnectedness between crime and education, emphasizing the importance of addressing socio-environmental factors to foster educational success in urban communities.

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