Scholarly Activity: The Chicago Area Project

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Unit 4 Scholarly Activity

Columbia Southern University

The Chicago Area Project

This project was established by Clifford Shaw to put his theory that social structure when pertaining to crime, can be impacted by social action. Shaw wanted to reduce the number of delinquent children in transitional neighborhoods. He tried to increase opportunities for the younger generation to start good careers instead of turning to crime (Schmalleger, 2016). He identified four neighborhoods where crime rates were the highest. He recruited people in the neighborhoods to create programs that offered positive activities for youth.

Shaw drew several conclusions while conducting experiments in community building. Young people in the kinds of areas where he conducted his experiments were accustomed to a certain type of social experience. Being able to prevent these children from turning to crime can only be achieved if there are changes in the community itself. If the child is able to be rehabilitated into a group in the community his chances at going back to crime are very small. He figured that the community should be in charge of the policies, getting the support of others, and having control over budgets and programs. The programs showed a reduced risk for delinquent children within the coming years.

The program was put in place to prevent crime. It targeted younger children and tried to stop them from turning to a life of crime. Children being able to go somewhere after school was key in building these types of programs. Most of the time children get in gangs because there is nothing productive for them to do after school, and there is nothing but gangs in their neighborhood. It creates different programs that allow kids to do things in the career field that they want to pursue. This is helping those kids that think that being in a gang is all they are going to be able to do in life. This has nothing to do with fighting crime.

What could have made this more effective is spreading the program into other neighborhoods. Maybe if the neighborhoods that didn’t have such high gang rates were involved it might have mad the kids in the other neighborhoods feel like they are different, and they are like any other kid. Getting the kids out of their environment and taking them on a field trip at least once a month could show them what is out there. It could open their minds to the different cultures that are at their fingertips. I think having guess speakers that made it out of neighborhoods like the one that they are in would show the kids that they could get out to if they put their mind to it. Giving the kids a chance to get a scholarship at a good schools by writing a paper or something that shows why they think they should get the scholarship. There would be a certain amount each year and having those people from the university pay attention to what the kids have presented.

A big disadvantage to be was that they didn’t have anything for the kids to look forward to when they got older. I think having more successful people come in and talk to them could make a difference. Or have the kids write a letter to the person that they inspired to be like when they grew up. They have had the kids set goals for themselves each week, so they would be trying to achieve something. All the kids wanted to know was that there is so much more out there.

I do not think there is not one policy that influenced the Chicago Area Project, but there are several philosophies that Clifford Shaw used when he started the project. He wanted to prevent and stop juvenile delinquency and by developing a support system from local community self-help efforts where is thought the need was greatest.


Chicago Area Project. Retrieved from

Schlossman S. & Sedlak M. (1983). A Rand Note. Retrieved from (Chicago area Project)

Marshall, H. & Lombardo, R. M. (2016). What effect did the mob have on Chicago neighborhood? Explicating the relationship between racket subcultures and informal social control. Retrieved from

Schmalleger, F. (2016) Criminology 3rd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.

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