Blog | October 16, 2019

After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Florida

Afterschool Fights Crime in Florida

The more than 5,000 law enforcement leaders around the nation who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, have long known that the hours immediately after school lets out, when parents are likely not available to supervise, are the prime-time for juvenile crime. Over the past 20 years, law enforcement leaders across the country have relied on high-quality afterschool programs to provide supportive, stable, and enriching environments with caring adults that keep children and youth out of trouble and safe, while supporting their academic success, and social and emotional development.

The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Florida

2 to 6pm: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Florida

In Florida, juvenile crime peaks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, with about 24 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occuring during the hours following the last school bell.

The crime peaks not occurring from 2 to 6 p.m. are largely due to much of law enforcement in those states recording youth criminal activity as having all occurred at only one hour during the day, often noon or midnight. This would artificially inflate the crime rate for that time period.

Program Highlight: Diversion Initiative for Vocational Employability Related to Technology

In 2018, the DIVERT (Diversion Initiative for Vocational Employability Related to Technology) program was founded out of a technical assistance grant offered through the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. The goal from the outset was to provide juvenile-justice involved young adults with wrap-around support services while teaching the cohort a valuable skillset that would encourage them to be more involved in their education and expose them to a viable career path, namely through coding and computer science. In partnership with the St. Petersburg College Gibbs Campus, the DIVERT program was led by interns who were seniors in the school’s Computer Programming and Analytics department. Classes were held on the college campus, and as a mutually beneficial partnership, the program participants received college credit for an introduction to computing class at no expense, and the student instructors obtained the internship credit they needed to complete their degrees.

The goal from the outset was to provide juvenile-justice involved young adults with wrap-around support services while teaching the cohort a valuable skillset.

In collaboration with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and Pinellas County School District, DIVERT recruits students ages 16 or older participating in juvenile arrest avoidance or alternative diversion programs. For three hours a day, Tuesday through Thursday, the cohort engages in coding instruction through CodeCombat—a game-based approach to teaching the coding languages JavaScript and Python—in addition to hands-on coding with Raspberry Pi and Sphero. The students complete eleven CodeCombat modules, and as they reach each milestone in the curriculum, DIVERT hosts celebrations and brings in local STEM business leaders as guest speakers, exposing participants to the wide range of career opportunities available through computer science. Simultaneously, DIVERT supports students in furthering their education and transitioning into adulthood by helping students re-enroll in high school, obtain a GED, apply for a driver’s license, or find part-time employment. The first cohort of the program was comprised of five students in January of 2019; the program is now planning to expand for its second cohort in August of 2019 and recruit up to 20 students to participate.

Read More About

  1. Afterschool Programs

States

  1. Florida