Blog | October 16, 2019

After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in South Carolina

Afterschool Fights Crime in South Carolina

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.

I value the partnerships the sheriffs’ department has with afterschool programs in Richland County.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Leon Lott, Richland County Sheriff

The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in South Carolina

2 to 6pm: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in South Carolina

In South Carolina, juvenile crime peaks between 2-6 p.m. on school days, with about 25 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occurring during the hours following the last school bell.

Program Highlight: Carolina Teen Center, Summerville

Founded in September 2012, the Carolina Teen Center is a teen after-school center (TASC)—part of a network of daily afterschool programs funded by the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ) designed to reduce the risk of incarceration for participating youth. TASCs help build resiliency skills, offer academic support, provide opportunities to expand career readiness, and are shown to reduce recidivism, decrease absences and suspensions, and increase student academic performance. According to the SCDJJ, compared to the average $426 a day it would cost to incarcerate each youth, TASCs are able to provide comprehensive and preventative programming for just $1 a day per participant. There are currently 45 sites around the state have been designated as TASCs.

Compared to the average $426 a day it would cost to incarcerate each youth, TASCs are able to provide comprehensive and preventative programming for just $1 a day per participant.

South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice

Operating out of Summerville, the Carolina Teen Center offers this crime-reduction programming in tandem with anti-bullying, childhood obesity, and other prevention services. Youth ages 12-17 can participate in a mentoring program, nutritional counseling, trauma-informed expressive arts, tutoring services, and more. The Center partners with the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and other community organizations to provide, at no cost to participants, comprehensive programming that keeps them safe and cultivates the program’s values of stewardship, empowerment, engagement, and dedication (S.E.E.D.). Through their Carolina Family First Program, they provide wrap-around services to families as well, to help families learn how to manage conflict, work through emotions, and grow as a unit. In 2017, the Carolina Teen Center was named the Teen Afterschool Center of the year by the SCDJJ for its exceptional work in prevention and engaging the community.

The high-quality afterschool programs provided in our community give youth safe environments with caring adults that complement learning in school, boost academics, improve behavior and reduce crime.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Leon Lott, Richland County Sheriff

“We know from experience and from the data that the hours immediately after school are the time when youth are most likely to engage in risky behaviors and commit crimes. The high-quality afterschool programs provided in our community give youth safe environments with caring adults that complement learning in school, boost academics, improve behavior and reduce crime,” says Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

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