Afterschool Programs Help Reduce Juvenile Crime, Research Shows


With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, parents and kids everywhere are unsure what school will look like this year. If you do choose to send your child to school for in-person learning, though, consider the benefits of afterschool programs. This is especially true for parents who are at work or other obligations when their children get home.

A recent report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids called “Afterschool: A Solution to the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Michigan” brings some really good news for parents in this situation.

The report details the ways in which afterschool programming helps to keep children safe and happy. In fact, the report displays statistics that show afterschool programming helps reduce juvenile crime rates and improve public safety.

“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.”

The benefits of afterschool programs

The report discusses how afterschool programs benefit kids in multiple ways. It helps them academically, socially, and emotionally.

A study out of Michigan within the report shows that from fall to spring in 2019, kids in afterschool programs showed major improvements in their grades. These included:

  • 52% improvement in math
  • 51% improvement in reading
  • 74% improvement in homework completion/classroom participation
  • 79% improvement in classroom behavior

Decreased juvenile crime across the country since 2000

These statistics are specifically from communities in Michigan, but the results can have positive impacts on children everywhere. The report states that since 2000, juvenile arrest rates decreased by 70% nationwide. Why? During this time, kids had access to high-quality afterschool programs. These programs were partly responsible for the decline.

“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,” the report states.

“Not only do high-quality programs provide youth with a safe and stable environment that can help keep them from engaging in dangerous behavior or becoming the victim of a crime, these programs also contribute to positive outcomes such as improved attendance, improved classroom behavior, better academic outcomes, and increased graduation rates.”