Preventing Juvenile Delinquency Through Sports
January 26, 2018
Sports can be a powerful tool in preventing and reversing delinquent behavior among children and teens. Civic Park can play a significant role in improving social outcomes for children in our community. Through sports and recreation, youth programs at Civic Park will support positive character development by addressing key factors of juvenile delinquency. The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention (OJJDP) has identified key risk factors and protective factors for juvenile delinquency.
Research shows, participation in sports programs can decrease certain risk factors for juvenile delinquency and increase protective factors for positive youth development (see graphic). Thirteen of the 26 risk factors for delinquency have been shown to decrease through participation in sports and/or recreational programs. Participating in sports has an even greater impact on the factors that protect against juvenile delinquency. Researchers have demonstrated that sports can have a positive impact on nine of the 13 protective factors for positive youth development.
After school programs have proven particularly effective in deterring crimes committed by and against children. According to the OJJDP, nearly one-fifth of juvenile violent crimes are committed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The OJJDP also states that “the risk of violent juvenile victimization was 60 percent greater in the four hours after school than in the 8 p.m.-to- midnight period on non-school days.” Additionally, after school programs have been shown to reduce risky behavior among youth including drug and alcohol use, teenage sex, and smoking.
When viewing sports programs as a method for preventing juvenile delinquency and protecting children from becoming victims of violent crime, the importance of Civic Park and the programs it will host is clear. The facility will help fill a vital gap in the Eugene area, not only as a recreational facility, but as a means of protecting local youth and preventing juvenile criminal behavior.