It compares students who live in the same neighborhood within one kilometer but are on different sides of a school boundary, and thus attend different high schools.
Partners and Crime
The study matched data from county-level crime records to the demographic data from schools and tracked crimes committed by students ages 21 and under. The study confirms the powerful role of neighborhood effects on criminal partnerships. In the study area, more than a quarter 28 percent of crimes committed by people between the ages of 16 and 21 are committed in teams. These youth are much more likely to team up to commit crimes if they were former classmates.
School segregation can often group disadvantaged youth together, creating an environment which may drive such crime. The chart above illustrates the basic pattern, comparing crimes committed by students in the same or different schools by distance from where they live. For students from different schools the red dashed line , the probability of partnership is extremely low, no matter how close they live to one another.
Distance has no effect on the chances of criminal partnership. Compare that to students in the same grade and school: The blue line starts off at the very top left of the chart indicating a high probability of partnership and then declines as distance spreads the students further apart. Two young people who live in the same neighborhood within one kilometer are six times more likely to be arrested together if they go to the same school as opposed to different schools. But if youth of the same school live more than one kilometer apart, the probability of criminal partnership drastically drops.
After that, there is very little difference between youth of the same versus different schools. So-called peer effects also play a role, the study finds: Young people of the same age, same race, and same gender are much more likely to partner together. These patterns are most pronounced for repeat offenders or students with low test scores, more absences, and more suspensions, according to the study. All of these effects are magnified when young peers live close to one another and interact at school.
Partners in Crime – Westside Wired
Criminal activity requires a high degree of trust, face-to-face interactions, and deep personal relationships that stem from physical proximity. Young people are more like to team up to become partners in crime if they are similar to one another, attend the same school, and live in the same neighborhood. These findings have significant implications for education and school policy. School boundary policies have immense social consequences on neighborhoods and crime.
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