Wallet Pop: 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 3 million civilian non-institutionalized 16 through 24 year-olds were not enrolled in high school and had not earned a high school diploma between October 2007 and October 2008. The high school dropout rate for students living in high crime areas is far greater than those in other communities.
Absorption of crime in decaying inner city neighborhoods has proven to be among the most intractable of social problems. U.S researchers reported that a murder in the neighborhood could significantly reduce a child’s score on an IQ test, even if the child did not directly witness the killing or know the victim.
Eric Richardson, a former Arizona Boys Ranch Mentor and current Chandler High School District Educator, stated the potential for violence could reach beyond those victimized. In fact, in extreme circumstances, some youth will behave not according to their own values, but according to the roles dispensed to them by their environment.
Eric stated that between 1996 and 1998, the Arizona Boy’s Ranch, had a 64 percent success rate. Many of the teens entered the program as early as 12 years of age and by then had already been exposed to a number of negative pathways.
The Arizona Boys Ranch served as a camp for troubled youth which conducted intense 18 to 24 month counseling sessions that stressed discipline 8 hours per day and instilled confidence and values in the young men. The biggest problem was when the teens returned to their high crime neighborhoods. “It’s a double-edge sword.” Eric said. “Many of the teens would adopt the values and discipline we instilled and assimilate them to a new way of life. However, they didn’t stand a chance when they returned to an area that was polluted with crime. The few who did overcome admitted their parents took a stronger role in their lives and regardless of the high crime environment around them were able to focus on the positive values they learned.”
The negative effects of crime in our environment can be especially detrimental to the young minds of children causing emotional and psychological damage before they really even have a start at life. The influences of these experiences are so dramatic that some subjects undergo significant personality changes prior to reaching elementary school.
Having positive influences in our life as well as coming from a good environment isn’t always a recipe for success as Anthony Kal, a once troubled teen, now a successful business owner can attest.
Anthony attended Catholic schools from fourth grade through high school and, yet, he considered himself an outsider in the classroom. “I wasn’t a stand out in school, just simply there.” He said. “I was enthralled by the glitz and the glamour of what I saw on television shows such as Miami Vice and I wanted to be like the gangsters it portrayed.”
According to psychological research, violence on television can affect children. Daphne Miller M.D, and contributor of CNN Health, reported that when children watch television frequently and indiscriminately, the effects could be detrimental. Anthony couldn’t agree more. “I mimicked what I saw on television only because I wanted a better life for myself.”
After graduating high school, Anthony enrolled in the local community college to pursue a career in Electrical Electronics / Robotics. His first job was for a company that built automated assembly lines for the big three automakers in Detroit. “I worked alongside high school dropouts and made ten dollars an hour doing filthy grunt work. The top electricians there made eighteen dollars an hour. It didn’t make sense to me. What was the point of going to college and gaining an education if I was going to do dirty work and make peanuts? I decided to take the risk and go into crime, I thought it paid much better.”
Between 1980 & 1988 Anthony spent his life in a high crime environment with known criminals and hustlers where he made his money and a name for himself. After being arrested he spent seven years in The Rivers Correctional Institution in Hardwick, Georgia where he learned some hard life lessons and mellowed with age. When he paroled out and returned to society he chose to live the average life and join the ranks of the working class in a forty-hour workweek. “I have no regrets for the way I lived, but I’ve put it all behind me. I want to overcome the odds and succeed in a different way this time. Hopefully, I’ll do it in a way that’ll make everyone proud.”