Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence

Current Projects

The Generation R Project

The current financial crisis is said to be unlike anything experienced since the Great Depression. As the housing market collapsed, banks struggled to stay afloat, and once powerful companies lay at the mercy of the federal government, it seemed the future of the greatest nation in the world stood in jeopardy. Meanwhile, a generation of youth attempts to "grow up" in the midst of this uncertainty. New York Times journalist Steve Greenhouse calls the young people joining the labor force during this recession "Generation R." How do these youth perceive the Great Recession and how do they believe it will influence their transition to adulthood? An anticipated 150 in-depth interviews and 500 surveys with 2006 graduates of Philadelphia-area high schools, conducted by researchers at the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence, will help shed light on this issue.

For more information on the project and its researchers, please visit:


Philadelphia Youth Solutions Project

With 2000 shootings a year, more than 300 homicides annually, and 25 people murdered every month, there is a war going on here on the streets of Philadelphia. Young Philadelphians feel caught: either they keep their head down and their eyes shut or they come forward and risk everything to speak up. The goal of the  Philadelphia Youth Solutions Project, founded in 2010 through the support of Department of Justice grant, gifts from private donors, and the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence at Saint Joseph's University, is to offer a safe space for Philadelphia's young people to explain their views and emotions about the danger and violence that consumes so much of their daily lives, to ask questions of themselves and the people charged with running this city, and to have a serious conversation with teachers, parents, city officials, community leaders, state legislators, reporters, politicians, and anyone else who wants to know what is going on in the city to move forward on solutions inspired by the youth perspective.

To get involved in PYSP or to learn more about the project, please visit:


Stop Snitching Project

By 2006, things had gotten pretty bad in Philadelphia. The year ended with over 2000 shootings and 406 homicides, more than a killing a day. The same year New York City officials boasted a 40 percent decline in murders, the city of brotherly love earned a new nickname: Killadelphia. In 2008, investigators from the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence embarked on a three year interview project, speaking to 150 black, Latino and white young Philadelphians in three of the city deadliest neighborhoods. The research focused on the respondents' views of policing, violence, crime and the crisis of trust in Philadelphia's neighborhood-particularly in regards to the "Stop Snitching" phenomenon. 



Over the past three decades, social scientists have explored how neighborhoods affect children and teenagers. In the 1990s, a federal housing mobility initiative, Moving to Opportunity (MTO), offered the chance for families living in high-poverty public housing developments in five cities to move out to less poor neighborhoods. Since this time, researchers have followed up with families to find out how their wellbeing may have been affected by moving out of concentrated poverty. The goal of MTOQ10 is to provide further insight into how assisted residential mobility and the resulting variation in neighborhood characteristics might help or hinder youth in the transition to adulthood. We have interviewed 150 teens and young adults whose parents signed up for MTO in Baltimore, in order to understand what barriers they are facing and what opportunities they are creating as they move into adulthood. Researchers have focused most of their attention on middle-class young people as they have transitioned into adulthood, yet we know much less about how economically disadvantaged young people do so. MTOQ10 will focus on five substantive areas that past research suggests are likely to be critical as these young people transition to early adulthood: education, employment, family formation, risk behaviors and mental health. Understanding how housing policies which induce dramatic changes in neighborhood characteristics, interact with youths’ lives as they transition into adult roles is crucial for those who wish to design or advocate for housing policies, community development programs, and other public and private initiatives that improve the health and wellbeing of at-risk American youth.