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Manhattan Institute

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The Role of African-American Churches in Reducing Crime Among Black Youth

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The Role of African-American Churches in Reducing Crime Among Black Youth

May 1, 2001
Urban PolicyCrime
RaceOther

Introduction

In this paper I examine the hypothesis that the religious involvement of African-American youth significantly shields them from the deleterious effects of neighborhood disorder and decay on youth crime. This hypothesis is tested by examining the fifth wave of data from the National Youth Survey (nys), focusing on black respondents given the historical as well as I contemporary significance of the African-American church for black Americans. Results from a series of multivariate analyses indicate that:

(1) The effects of neighborhood disorder on crime among black youth are partly mediated by an individual’s religious involvement; and

(2) Involvement of African-American youth in religious institutions significantly buffers or interacts with the effects of neighborhood disorder on crime, and in particular, serious crime. Theoretical and methodological implications of the present findings are briefly discussed.

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