Videos

Neighborhood Crime and Kids

January 2018

CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The numbers are sobering. According to the FBI, there were 1.2 million violent crimes in the United States in 2016 – up more than four percent over the previous year. Violence is unsettling for children, whether they witnessed the crime or not. What happens to kids in the aftermath of crime and how can parents lessen the impact?

A violent crime happens every 26 seconds in the United States – assault, robbery, rape and murder.

“There are drug dealers here within two or three houses of me,” said a local Chicago man.

Emma Adam, PhD, is a professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University, studying the impacts of neighborhood crime on preteens’ and teens’ academic performance.

“How did that violence that they’re exposed to get under the skin into the brain to affect performance?” asked Adam.

Adam tracked the stress level and sleep of 82 urban public school students. Researchers tested the students’ saliva for the stress hormone cortisol. Students also wore special watches that recorded daily activity levels, including sleep.

“We thought perhaps the violent crime was affecting children’s sleep, which in turn may be affecting performance,” Adam told Ivanhoe.

Using police reports, researchers compared students’ sleep and stress levels on nights with violent crime in the neighborhood against a night with no crime reported. They found that kids got less sleep when there was neighborhood crime and that their cortisol levels were higher the next morning.

“The other interesting thing we found was the more violent the nature of the crime, the larger the effects,” detailed Adam.

Adam said stress and sleep are both influenced by how safe a child feels. Parents can reduce the effects of neighborhood crime by protecting kids from the details of the crime. At home, expressing love and support increases feelings of safety. Also, keeping a regular bed time is important for helping kids fall asleep, even for teens.

Adam and her colleagues are starting a new study with a larger sample of about 300 kids. She said one of the goals is to measure more of the factors that might buffer kids from the negative impact of crime.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Bob Walko, Editor and Roque Correa, Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 


Spanish Translation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Las cifras son preocupantes. Según el FBI se cometieron 1 millón doscientos mil crímenes violentos en estados unidos en el 2016, un aumento del 4 por ciento sobre el año anterior. La violencia perturba la vida de los niños, hayan o no sido testigos del crimen.

Cada 26 segundos tiene lugar un acto de violencia en Estados Unidos. Asesinatos, asaltos, robos, violaciones. Emma Adam estudia el impacto que tiene el crimen sobre los niños y jóvenes del barrio.

Adam monitoreo el nivel de ansiedad y los patrones de sueño de 82 estudiantes de escuelas públicas en centros urbanos. A través de análisis de saliva midieron los niveles de cortisol; la hormona de la ansiedad. Asimismo, los estudiantes usaron relojes que grabaron sus niveles de actividad diarios incluyendo el sueño.

Basándose en informes policiales, los investigadores compararon los patrones de sueño y niveles de ansiedad en los niños las noches en que se produjeron crímenes violentos en su barrio, con las noches libres de crimen.

Determinaron que los niños durmieron menos las noches en que se cometieron crímenes violentos  y sus niveles de ansiedad estaban más elevados la mañana siguiente.

Adam indica que los padres pueden reducir el efecto que el crimen en el vecindario tiene sobre sus hijos evitando hablar sobre los detalles del mismo en la casa. Asimismo, expresándoles su amor y apoyo les ayuda a sentirse más seguros.

Adam y sus colegas están iniciando un nuevo estudio, donde participaran más de 300 niños. La meta de este estudio es determinar más factores que pueden aislar a los niños del efecto negativo del crimen en el barrio.

Los contribuyentes a este reportaje incluyen: Cyndy McGrath, Supervisora  Y Productora de Campo; Milvionne Chery, Productora Assistente; Bob Walko, Editor; Roque Correa, Camarografo.

Producido por Child Trends News Service en asocio con Ivanhoe Broadcast News y auspiciado por una beca de la National Science Foundation.