Do Education and Crime Have a Correlation?


By Alabama News Network

It's no secret that Montgomery is seeing a spike in homicides this year. And although there is no way to pinpoint exactly why that is, some people believe a lot of it may have to do with education.

Dr. Earnest Blackshear is a psychologist at Alabama State University who has worked with Montgomery Police to combat violence. He says he's developed a module that he believes outlines the cause of many homicides and that module starts with high school dropouts.

"Without high school drop outs, this system would crumble," he explains. "Without high school drop outs, this system would not work."

It may not be just a theory. Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy says there is some truth behind Dr. Blackshear's system.

"The group that we need to worry most about are the people who fail to finish high school," he says. "They're the high risk group and those are the ones who find themselves in prison more often than someone with an education."

So, can an education and a good school system prevent homicides? Murphy says there's no black and white answer.

"We can't rationalize this," he says. "None of us can and how do you rationalize the taking of another person's life?"

But some Montgomery residents we spoke with say the two go hand in hand.

"Since you're not in school, you might be on the streets and somebody might come up to you and be like hey, lets go do this, versus when you're in school, you're surrounded by positive people,"  says student Gankoya Leaman.

"I think everything is a ripple effect so if kids are not getting any education, they don't have anything to do," says Montgomery resident William Brinkley. "They'll look at TV and they'll be into gang violence."

Others say they believe a key to solving the problem lies with educators.

"Good teachers, that's very important in the school system," says Eugina Thomas. "We all need good teachers because good teachers, they influence us."

Of course this is just one theory. And just to show how unpredictable homicide numbers can be, the last time Montgomery had a spike like the current one was in 2007 with 46 homicides that year. The following year in 2008, Montgomery had 23 homicides.


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