University of Chicago Crime Lab Gets $1M - The Chicago Criminal Law Blog

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University of Chicago Crime Lab Gets $1M

The University of Chicago Crime Lab received a $1 million grant that will be used to grow its policy work and study crime problems.

With more resources to tackle the city's crime problems, the Crime Lab will be able to keep up with the city legislators' accelerated timetables, said the Chicago Tribune.

So what types of research may the grant fund?

Potential Research Areas

  • Underground gun trafficking markets. This is an area that the University of Chicago Crime Lab will definitely be spending its grant money on, reports the Tribune. The Crime Lab reports that 80 percent of homicides in Chicago involve guns and nearly 75 percent of all homicide victims are found outside. This means that offenders are likely carrying a gun in public before the shootings. Deterring underground gun markets could help reduce homicides.
  • Correlations between crime and weather. Chicago is known for its harsh winters and short, humid summers. With the city's summer homicides, the Crime Lab could use its funding to determine if there's a correlation between the sweltering summer heat and violence. Some studies in other states have found that violence could increase with the temperature, but only to a certain point. If it gets too hot, crime might actually become stagnant or decrease.
  • Curfews and crime. Chicago already has a mandatory curfew for children under the age of 18. Kids need to be home by 10:00 p.m., and if they're not, then the children's guardians will get slapped with fines. The Crime Lab's grant can promote further research into whether the curfew is effective in preventing crimes by young people. It can also provide additional research to support new policies.
  • Rise in gang membership. As gang membership continues to increase in Chicago, this million in grant money can be used find ways to fight this trend. Traditionally, Illinois prosecutors have used to injunctions and temporary restraining orders to curtail gang activities, but further research could reveal new and effective tactics.

Most of these areas of research are speculative, but if researched, could help Chicago battle crime. The grant was given by the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation and the Crime Lab one of seven organizations in the world to receive it, reports the Tribune.

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