Black Churches Play Key Role in Reducing Crime, Study Says

Article excerpt


African American youth who regularly attend church services get into less trouble than those who don't, according to a recent study by Byron Johnson, director of the Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Johnson's findings are compiled in a report entitled "The Role of African American Churches in Reducing Crime Among Black Youth."

Johnson examined whether involvement in religious institutions buffers African American youth from the effects of living in "bad neighborhoods." He found that when Black youth are involved in the church, the negative effect of living in an environment of neighborhood disorder is reduced by 22 percent. His research shows that church-going youth are less likely to hang out and drink on street corners, use illicit drugs and create a sense of danger on the streets.

"This study's overall findings show that the contribution of the church to potentially reduce Black youth crime should no longer be an overlooked or `invisible institution' among criminologists," Johnson says. …


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