After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Louisiana
Afterschool Fights Crime in Louisiana
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 Louisiana
In Louisiana, juvenile crime peaks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, with about 26 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occuring 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: Youth Empowerment Project, New Orleans
The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) was founded in 2004 by three former staffers at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana’s Post-Disposition Project in response to the lack of services for youth transitioning out of the juvenile justice system and into the community. Since its inception, YEP has grown from a juvenile re-entry program to running 11 programs, including afterschool and summer learning programs, targeting underserved youth in the New Orleans area.
In YEP’s afterschool and summer learning programs, children and teens are connected with caring and supportive mentors, receive help with homework, take part in arts and craft projects, engage in recreational activities, take field trips, and are provided snacks and a meal. YEP also helps students build their workforce readiness skills through programs like their Teen Summer Employment Training Program and the Trafigura Work & Learn Center, where youth gain on-the-job experience in fields including graphic design and bike repair, and learn how to look for, apply to, and interview for a job. The program works to decrease students’ involvement with the juvenile justice system. A YEP high school student, who first came to the program as an 8 year old who was having a difficult time controlling his anger, said, “Now I’m calm and collected. YEP hooked me up with a job, everything is going so well. YEP has had a pretty positive impact on my life.”
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