Blog | October 16, 2019

The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in North Dakota

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 North Dakota

The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in North Dakota

In North Dakota, juvenile crime peaks from 6 to 10 p.m. with 24 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: The Day Report, North Dakota

The Day Report is an afterschool program run by North Dakota’s Lutheran Social Services for youth ages 13 to 17 that have a history of delinquent offenses and are currently involved in juvenile court. Through funding from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant and a partnership with the North Dakota Juvenile Court and Division of Juvenile Services, Lutheran Social Services has been able to support youth referred to the program for the past twenty years. The Day Report accepts both short and long-term referrals, and accommodates the schedules of those who have jobs and or struggle with transportation limitations. Youth may attend five days a week during the school year and summer break, and engage in programming focused on education, skill building, and community service.

After entering the program, students reported an increase in time spent on homework completion, as well as a decrease in behavioral problems.

When youth arrive, they leave their phones at the door, making the space conducive to engagement and learning. They start off with a snack, have a recreation break, and then jump into the daily program. A primary focus is providing educational supports. Youth are given ample time for homework and tutoring, with access to computers and Wi-Fi to ensure they have the tools necessary to complete their assignments. The Day Report also provides the space for youth to build life skills, prepare for job readiness, and strengthen a self-selected focus area. This self-focus is tailored to each youth’s individual needs. Whether that be budgeting and time management or friendships and positive decision-making, all of the youth are provided with the tools and support from both program staff and peers to work on their individual focuses. The Day Report’s programming also includes a community service component. In the past, program participants have partnered with local churches to help with gardening, worked with a local food shelf to assist with organization, preparation, and delivery of food boxes, and volunteered their time with the Salvation Army. In an ACOPE self-reporting questionnaire measuring coping strategies of participants, Lutheran Social Services found that after entering the program, students reported an increase in time spent on homework completion, time spent talking to family and parents, overall physical activities, positive thinking, as well as a decrease in behavioral problems. In 2019, Day Report serviced 14 youth with a total of 755 contact hours—averaging about 53 hours of contact dedicated to each youth.