Crime is an issue that impacts everyone. There seem to be a lot of opinions about what to do with criminals, but few solutions when it comes to solving the actual problem of criminal behavior. One factor that can have a huge impact on crime is education. Not only does education give people access to opportunity, but it also reinforces good citizenship and helps to strengthen communities. Good behavior is enforced from kindergarten through college. Work ethics are taught and deadlines are stressed by way of homework assignments and class projects. Caring educators set positive examples for young people, and students are surrounded by adults who have their best interests at heart. Indeed, education is a powerful tool in the fight against crime. Here a few ways in which it helps reduce crime:
In many cases, crimes are committed because criminals have very little direction in life. Stealing, hurting others, crime – it’s all they know. Education, by its very nature, gives children and adults a chance to create their own opportunities and goals. Those with more education are able to fulfill more roles in the working world, have the potential to make more money (up to twice as much per week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and are often able to take advantage of opportunities that their less educated peers do not have. Simply put, education is the best way for students to avoid a life of crime simply because it gives them other roads to take. While education is no guarantee that an individual will not commit a crime, it does allow guidance towards a successful, happy life.
Beyond the very obvious benefits of higher education, the education system also serves as a tool to enforce good behavior. One only needs to look at the college application process to learn a quick lesson – students who have committed serious crimes or who have drug-related offenses are less likely to get financial aid or scholarships if they commit crimes. Further still, it’s very telling that more than half of all prisoners don’t have a high school diploma, showing a connection between education as a priority and positive behavior that leads to more opportunities. The structure and order learned from a lifetime spent in a classroom can make discipline in one’s own life that much more stable. Learning to treat others with respect and dignity starts when you treat yourself with that same love. An educational system gives students the support needed to believe in their own potential. When you have a lot to live for, it makes living a good life more of a priority.
Education impacts more than just students, of course. Good educational institutions impact the neighborhoods around them, creating programs for parents and students alike. According to PTA.org, one of the best ways to reduce crimes committed by school-aged children is for parents to stay involved with local schools – a clear sign that, to some degree, a strong community is a key factor in crime prevention and vice versa. Indeed, education helps to build bridges within communities, create safer spaces, and generally reduce the sense of alienation and loneliness that drives many people to commit crimes.
Is education a cure for crime? Of course not. It does, however, help make a better environment and cure some of the ills that lead to crime in the first place. Education doesn’t stop crime – but it does give individuals a better path to follow. You can learn more here if you’re interested in discovering how higher education can decrease the rates of crime in your community.
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