Axel Coletti, a 24-year-old from Peru, has worked as a waiter and bartender, but is currently unemployed. Having recently graduated from college with a degree in forensic psychology, he is trying to find a job as a social worker but says employers don’t call him back. Axel lives with his mother in the low-income housing project where he grew up. He said many of his childhood friends got involved in gangs, “Mostly Crips.” He was tempted to join, “but I knew that nothing good would come from it.” On the whole, he says violence in the neighborhood has gone down since the 1990s, but he has noticed a recent spike in shootings. He says crime and poverty in the South Bronx are linked because of a lack of education. “There are bad influences, there are weapons, there are drugs, says Coletti. “That’s the unfortunate reality in poor neighborhoods in the United States. There are mixtures of these bad factors.”

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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