Blog | October 16, 2019

After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Texas

Afterschool Fights Crime in Texas

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 Texas

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

In Texas, juvenile crime peaks from 2 to 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: Fort Worth After School

In 1998, to address the issue of high crime and gang activity in Fort Worth, a task force that included City of Fort Worth personnel, the Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD), community stakeholders, and the United Way was convened. Together, the task force established Fort Worth After School (FWAS) in the Fall of 2000 in response to the issue, funded in part through the city’s crime prevention funds. The program kicked off serving 52 campuses, with 50 students at each, dedicated to creating an educational, nurturing, and safe environment where kids could avoid risky behaviors and reduce their likelihood of engaging in juvenile crime.

Reports show a distinct drop in juvenile crime and gang activity over the past five years.

Now serving approximately 5,000 kids across 66 campus, FWAS continues to work with elementary and middle schools to provide comprehensive, rotating programming that covers physical enrichment, service learning, academic enrichment, social and emotional learning, and fine arts. FWAS students have engaged in a range of activities that build critical thinking skills and encourages exploration, such as constructing cardboard boats to race in a regatta, practicing teamwork and working on future mapping projects at leadership camps, creating art to showcase in a recycled art contest, and developing virtual college and career portfolios to present to parents. This investment has made a real difference in the Fort Worth community, where reports show a distinct drop in juvenile crime and gang activity over the past five years and surveys indicate increased academic and behavioral performance of participants in school. The program reports that all students regularly participating in the program have successfully avoided interactions with the county’s juvenile crime services and in an evaluation of FWAS during the 2017-18 school year, 92 percent of parents agree that the program keeps their child from getting into trouble. Additionally, the evaluation found that the greater the participation in the program, the fewer school day discipline referrals students received.


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