Blog | October 16, 2019

The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Maryland

High-quality programs can help prevent crime during afterschool hours and throughout the day

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 Maryland

The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Maryland

In Maryland, juvenile crime peaks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with 36 percent of school-day incidences recorded at that time. About 22 percent of all juvenile crime on school days falls during the hours following the last school bell from 2 to 6 p.m.

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: Project Pneuma, Baltimore

Much like the name suggests, Project Pneuma (the Greek word for breath) focuses on the positive development of Baltimore’s inner-city boys through the principles of mindfulness and self-control. As a young adult, founder and executive director of Project Pneuma, Damion Cooper, was nearly fatally shot as part of a gang initiation in East Baltimore. Through his recovery process, Cooper discovered the importance of forgiveness as a part of living a healthy and successful life. Today, he works to impart this knowledge to Baltimore’s young African-American males through an afterschool program that focuses on social and emotional learning. Through a wide range of activities that include martial arts, meditation, camping, and poetry, Project Pneuma helps youth grades 4-8 work through their emotions and control their temper, driven by the belief that mindfulness can deter violent behavior.

Serving as mentors, police officers and cadets work to build better relationships and foster mutual trust between the city’s police force and youth.

Since the program’s inception in 2014, the Baltimore City Police Department has served as an important partner in transforming youth mindsets from anger to positivity. Twice a week, Project Pneuma youth go to the Baltimore City Public Safety and Training Facility within the Police Academy for tutoring and physical fitness sessions. Serving as mentors, police officers and cadets work to build better relationships and foster mutual trust between the city’s police force and youth. One program participant’s mother remarks on the impact of adult male role models, saying, “I entered [my son] in Project Pneuma because of his attitude and anger. He needed to channel it. I’ve noticed his attitude has changed. It has leveled out. They’ve taught him about chivalry and humility.” Cooper also reflects on the behavioral improvements of youth, saying, “since we started this program, not one of these boys has been suspended. All their grades have gone up.”

Participants of Project Pneuma in Baltimore, Maryland

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  1. Afterschool Programs

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  1. Maryland