After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Minnesota
Afterschool Fights Crime in Minnesota
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 Minnesota
In Minnesota, juvenile crime peaks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, with about 23 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occurring 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: Zanewood Park Recreation Center, Brooklyn Park
In 2008, Brooklyn Park, a suburb of the Twin Cities, saw an increase in juvenile crime during the after school hours and decided to take a neighborhood-based approach. The city voted to fund the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, a partnership between Brooklyn Park’s police department and parks and recreation department to establish youth programming in areas with the highest juvenile crime. As a part of this initiative, Zanewood Park Recreation Center received funding to provide additional free afterschool and summer programming to youth in the community, with programing available in the afternoon and evening hours.
Between 2008 and 2012, participation in afterschool activities had grown, increasing 62 percent, while the city’s juvenile crime had dropped 39 percent.
Study by the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth and the city’s Police and Parks and Recreation Departments
Students attending Zanewood Park Recreation Center have the ability to take part in a mix of activities, including sports, recreational activities, arts and crafts, fitness classes, and leadership training. There is also a partnership with the police department with events such as the annual “Cops versus Teens” basketball tournament and a safety camp. Between 2008 and 2012, a study by the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth and the city’s police and parks and recreation departments found that participation in afterschool activities had grown, increasing 62 percent, while the city’s juvenile crime dropped 39 percent. Additionally, a 2018 youth survey of close to 700 Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center kids found that a majority of youth agreed that the police in their community are dependable and are helpful.
My job is to keep my community safe. But, after 21 years of military service, I am concerned that 71% of young Americans (ages of 17-24) are ineligible to serve, partly due to a record of juvenile crime or drug use. So, I am very encouraged by research that shows that quality afterschool programs can help reduce crime and drug use.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Roger Pohlman, Red Wing Police Chief
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