After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in New Hampshire
Afterschool Fights Crime in New Hampshire
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 New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, juvenile crime peaks between 2-6 p.m. on school days, with about 26 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occurring during the hours following the last school bell.
Program Highlight: Police Athletic League, Manchester
The Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL) was formed in 1992 as an afterschool program that would forge strong community bonds, with the goal of bringing youth and police closer together. Every day after school and throughout the summer, Manchester police officers, along with a crew of volunteer experts, provide free athletic and enrichment programs for youth living in Greater Manchester, connecting with youth as mentors and positive role models as a way to keep kids off the streets and help them grow into healthy and productive citizens.
Youth in the MPAL Ambassadors program learn how to speak publicly about their afterschool experiences while gaining important life, hospitality, and career readiness skills.
MPAL is housed at the Michael Briggs Community Center—furnished with a weight room, boxing gym, open mat area, commercial kitchen, game room, and homework room—making it possible for officers to offer programs that include youth sports, an ambassadors program, cooking, and homework help. For example, athletic programs like aikido, wrestling, boxing, and jiu-jitsu take youth on a character building fitness journey where students get in shape while building qualities like self-esteem, self-discipline, respect, and humility. Meanwhile, youth in the MPAL Ambassadors program learn how to speak publicly about their afterschool experiences while gaining important life, hospitality, and career readiness skills. MPAL also hosts special events for youth and their families like the Spring Spaghetti Dinner to celebrate each year’s accomplishments. One program participant’s mother remarked, “Before MPAL, my oldest daughter was bullied and my youngest daughter was a bully…The programs we have participated in have made changes for me and especially my girls. We are more like a family.” Former Chief of Police David Mara adds, “[MPAL] is a sanctuary, and every day, kids are in here having positive interactions with police officers.”
[MPAL] is a sanctuary, and every day, kids are in here having positive interactions with police officers.
Former Manchester Chief of Police David Mara
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