University of Chicago researchers will interview victims, offenders, and parents — with a particular emphasis on single moms — to get to the heart of youth violence and devise “out of the box” strategies to prevent it, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Mayor Richard Daley got the idea for the study after the murder last fall of a University of Chicago graduate student in a robbery attempt. Four suspects – a 16-year-old, two 17-year-olds and a 21-year-old – have been charged.
“I asked myself the question: 'What about these young men? Who are they? Did they drop out of elementary school? Did they drop out of high school? Do they have any brothers or sisters? Were they in the juvenile justice system? What happened to them?' We have to look at it completely different. We have to look at things we've never talked about,” Daley said. Gun violence that has claimed the lives of 20 students this school year only hammered home the same questions, he said. The study will be led by Prof. Jens Ludwig, who hopes to have early results, including new “intervention policies,” in six to 12 months. The city would launch programs to test those strategies.