A Novel Approach to Violence in Chicago

It’s two weeks too late for  Derrion Albert, but the New York Times reports that a former police officer named Ron Huberman has a new plan for trying to protect the most vulnerable students from violence. It sounds a bit like CompStat.

. . . if Mr. Huberman’s hunch is right, about 10,000 high school students with the highest risk of becoming the next victims will be better off once his plan is in place this winter.

Financed by federal stimulus grants for two years, the $60 million plan uses a formula gleaned from an analysis of more than 500 students who were shot over the last several years to predict the characteristics of potential future victims, including when and where they might be attacked. While other big city school districts, including New York, have tried to focus security efforts on preventing violence, this plan goes further by identifying the most vulnerable students and saturating them with adult attention, including giving each of them a paid job and a local advocate who would be on call for support 24 hours a day.

From the study of the 500 shootings, Mr. Huberman said officials know that deadly violent outbursts are not truly random. The students at highest risk of violence, by statistics, are most likely to be black, male, without a stable living environment, in special education, skipping an average of 42 percent of school days at neighborhood and alternative schools, and having a record of in-school behavioral flare-ups that is about eight times higher than the average student.

  • Grump

    Ron Huberman, CEO of Chicago Public Schools
    He’s got Paul Vallas’ old gig

  • This is a GREAT idea. I’m a TA for an undergrad (mostly) soc class on crime at Harvard, and we just learned this little stat on Monday:

    “In the U.S., 10% of victims generate about 40% of victimizations (Spelman & Eck, 1989).”

    Also, with repeat offenders and the overlap b/w victims and offenders, it’s likely this strategy will not only help these kids, but lead the cops to the offenders (hopefully, anyway). Of course, they may already know who the offenders are, also likely, but are now prioritizing keeping potential victims safe.

  • NinaG

    This program looks promising, but I wonder if there are any components of it that will address fucked up notions of masculinity and the culture of violence.