Trident United Way, a non-profit organization that covers Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, and the American Human Development Project has announced a new “Common Good Forecasting” Web-based tool that spokesperson Barry Waldman says could cut murder rates nearly in half.
“This forecasting tool actually lets you look at what would happen if you improved education in our state or in any of our three counties. For example, we know if we were able to help everybody improve their education level by one unit. If we did that we would improve average life expectancy by about two years a person,” says Waldman.
Waldman explains that improving levels by one unit means taking education to the next level. For example, for someone who didn’t graduate high school, they would graduate. Waldman says it starts with the building blocks of life.
“Sufficient education, to have a stable job, to have enough money to support a family, and good health. And, we know that the better educated people are, the better they take care of themselves, the less likely they are to be obese and have diabetes and strokes and heart disease, the less likely they are to get involved in violence, to have children out of wedlock, to be divorced, the longer they live, in fact,” says Waldman.
So, once they see the correlation between education, home life and murder rates through this forecasting tool, Waldman says they will start finding ways to help the community.
“United Way is taking the information we have gotten from this forecasting model and using it to shape how we invest in strategies, and programs, and initiatives that improve people’s lives measurably in our area. And, you know as you improve education levels, the murder rate declines,” says Waldman.
Waldman says they are first targeting children six-years-old and under because they believe those to be the most crucial years of learning.