After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Iowa
Afterschool Fights Crime in Iowa
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 Iowa
In Iowa, 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: Partners in Education, Community Educating Students, Burlington
At the Partners in Education, Community Educating Students Afterschool Program (PIECES) in rural Burlington, IA, students in kindergarten through 8th grade have a safe place to go after their last school bell rings, engaging in enriching learning activities with topics that range from STEM to health and wellness and the arts to the environment. The free 21st Century Community Learning Center program is offered at two middle schools and five elementary schools in the Burlington Community School District (BCSD), serving more than 1,000 students during the 2017-18 school year.
Afterschool programs give kids a safe place to be—and a place where we can reach out and begin to break down some of those barriers that exist between the department and the neighborhoods.
Major Darren Grimshaw, Burlington Police Department
Community partnerships are a priority for PIECES; the program has strong partnerships with upwards of 40 local groups including Southeastern Community College, the Burlington public library, the YMCA of Burlington, as well as the Burlington Police Department. Through its partnership with the police department, PIECES students have received mentoring from detectives in a Crime Scene Investigation club, played flag football with officers, and girls in the program have heard from female police officers about what it is like to be a woman in law enforcement. The successful collaboration between PIECES and the Burlington Police Department has led to relationships with the fire department, the parks and recreation department, and the city government. Major Darren Grimshaw, who joined BCSD’s afterschool advisory board after two years of volunteering with PIECES, said, “Afterschool programs give kids a safe place to be—and a place where we can reach out and begin to break down some of those barriers that exist between the department and the neighborhoods.” PIECES students also saw improvements in their academics and behavior. Approximately 3 in 4 students improved their state assessment scores in math (74 percent) and literacy (78 percent), while school day teachers reported that close to half of PIECES middle school students improved their behavior (48 percent).
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