The University of Chicago Crime Lab, whose anti-violence research is being embraced by President Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is getting a $1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The lab, founded in 2008, is attracting national attention with studies of programs that target high-school students with innovative educational programs meant to reduce their chances of becoming involved in violence. These include Becoming a Man, or B.A.M., which uses Olympic sports and counseling to improve at-risk students' attitudes about school, as well as a math-tutoring program modeled on the MATCH Education charter schools in Boston.
The crime lab discovered that a combination of math tutoring and B.A.M. mentoring improved academic performance and reduced misconduct more than B.A.M. in isolation. Roseanna Ander, executive director of the crime lab, said the projects have shown that early intervention programs targeting young children aren't the only ones that are effective in combating crime. Ander also is working with the police in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to better understand the underground gun market. The MacArthur Foundation grant will allow the crime lab to provide funding to new start-up projects, Ander said. Obama administration officials said the president's visit to the B.A.M. program at Hyde Park Academy High School last year was among his inspirations for the My Brother's Keeper initiative he announced earlier this month to test strategies aimed at improving the lives of young minority men.