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Youth Afterschool Programs and Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 1997
4 pages
Publication Series
This paper reports on a national survey of youth-serving organizations to discover the dimensions of crime that affect these organizations during nonschool hours and what approaches they are using to prevent such crime.
Questionnaires were sent to a stratified random sample of more than 1,000 program directors and volunteers, with a 47-percent response rate. About half of the responding organizations were in large cities with high crime rates. The majority of organizations were providing programs in youth centers or clubs, churches or other religious facilities, and schools. The survey found that youth prefer programs that provide a range of choices, i.e., sports and recreation, activities that bolster their educational and social skills, activities that increase their ability to say "No" when faced with temptation, and computer and other technical instruction. They also want places where they can be safe during afterschool hours (no gangs, weapons, or crime). The survey found that national youth-serving organizations are recruiting children and teens who are at high risk for crime and delinquency, many from economically depressed areas. Program sites are facing formidable problems from crime, and the organizations most affected by crime are reaching out to their police departments to implement prevention strategies. Youth-serving organizations that receive services they request from their police are experiencing significantly less crime than those with less responsive police departments. Evidence from police departments in three case-study sites (Arlington, Tex.; Bristol, Conn.; and Spokane, Wash.) shows that these communities are experiencing lower rates of crime after actively involving adolescents in youth-serving organizations.

Date Published: August 1, 1997