Kids Safety 101
kids outside during summer

How Afterschool Programs Reduce Juvenile Crime Rates

A new report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids called  “Afterschool: A Solution to the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Michigan” states that afterschool programs keep kids out of trouble, ultimately reducing juvenile crime rates and improving public safety.

Afterschool programs helped decrease nationwide juvenile crime since 2000

According to the report, “in communities ranging from Detroit to the Iron Mountain, and everywhere in between, the hours between 2 and 6 p.m. are a time when youth are more likely to commit a crime or become a crime victim, and present a critical opportunity to keep them safe while also developing their social and academic skills.”

While these statistics come from research into communities in Michigan, the fundamental idea affects communities across the nation. According to the report, since 2000, juvenile arrest rates decreased by 70% nationwide. Statistics show that providing kids with access to high-quality afterschool programs is partially responsible for the decline.

However, there are still so many kids who don’t have access to these programs – and numbers show that juvenile crime still peaks during afterschool hours.

For example, in Michigan, over 210,000 children are in afterschool programs. But there are not enough programs to meet demand. Therefore, there are around 373,500 kids who spend their afterschool hours alone and unsupervised.

How afterschool programs benefit kids

Afterschool programs benefit kids in numerous ways: academically, socially, and emotionally.

“Critically, high-quality afterschool programming has been demonstrated to reduce crime among youth,” states the report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. “For instance, Chicago’s Becoming a Man program led to a 35 percent reduction in total arrests, a 50 percent decline in violent-crime arrests, and a 21 percent decline in recidivism among participants.”

A 2019 study from Michigan says from fall to spring, kids in afterschool programs saw:

  • A 52% increase in math grades
  • A 51% increase in reading grades
  • A 74% increase in homework completion and classroom participation
  • A 79% increase in quality of classroom behavior

Ultimately, it’d be wise for schools and parents across the nation to take a look at this report. The evidence clearly displays that afterschool programs are essential in keeping kids out of trouble. Furthermore, it also proves that these programs serve to stimulate children’s education and personal well-being.

However, we can’t put these afterschool programs in place without proper funding. “We must seek and pursue opportunities to provide more kids with access to high-quality afterschool programs,” the study aptly concludes. How communities across the country will go about that, only time will tell.

Katy Holloway