School Reform is Helping Make D.C. Safer

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, November 19, 2012

The nation's capital -- once one of America's most violent urban centers -- now ranks only 16th in the annual Forbes ranking of dangerous U.S. cities. The District has gone from 2,452 violent crimes per 100,000 people to just 1,130. The District had almost 500 homicides in 1991, but the total for this year is projected to be about 100.There are many reasons why D.C. is becoming safer -- more effective policing, increased economic opportunities and the District's bulletproof status during the financial crisis. Some people even claim that the widespread use of cellphones has made the reporting of crime easier, causing it to fall.

But there also is a link between crime and education, an area in which significant changes have taken place in the District.

Research from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston shows that one in 10 high school dropouts is caught up in the nation's criminal justice system. Among those earning a high school diploma and stopping there, it's one in 35. Among college graduates, it's just one in 190.

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