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Youth program helps curb violence

July 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, July 13 (UPI) -- A study provides scientific evidence a violence reduction program succeeded in a sizable decline in violent crime arrests among youth, U.S. researchers say.

The program, Becoming A Man -- Sports Edition, was developed and delivered by Youth Guidance and World Sport Chicago to more than 800 boys in 18 Chicago Public Schools during the 2009-10 school year.

University of Chicago Crime Lab, in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools and local non-profits Youth Guidance and World Sport Chicago said the program cost around $1,100 per participant, while its effect on criminal behavior generated benefits to society valued at $3,600 to $34,000 per participant, depending on how the costs of crime were measured.

Youth who participated in the program showed a 44 percent decrease in violent crime arrests during the intervention. Participating youth became more engaged with school, an effect that grew even larger in the year after the program ended.

Chicago Police Department data showed the most common homicide motive in Chicago is an altercation that escalates into a tragedy, usually involving guns. The key idea behind BAM-Sports Edition is that correcting certain "thinking errors" can help protect young people from becoming involved in impulsive behaviors, including violence.

The program uses group counseling and non-traditional sports activities to strengthen adolescents' social-cognitive skills -- including self-regulation and impulse control; social-information processing, or the ability to accurately infer the intentions of others; future orientation; personal responsibility; and conflict resolution.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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