Thursday, January 24, 2008

Prime time for youth crime

Yesterday, I was on a panel at the Governor's Summit on Extended Learning Opportunities at the Nebraska State Capitol. Governor Heineman and his wife, Salley Ganem, were in attendance. The First Lady was an elementary school principal in Fremont, Nebraska and if I recall correctly, continued in that job for quite some time after the election of her husband. They are obviously both quite interested in this topic, and were at the summit all day long.

My panel's role was to discuss the value of after school extended learning programs, such as Lincoln's Community Learning Centers. In preparation for my very brief presentation, I made a graph that I thought the attendees might find interesting. I took every police incident report (except missing persons) over the past 8 years: 2000 through 2007. I selected those cases with a status code of 41: cleared, juvenile. The graph shows the time of day of each of these cases; shoplifting, burglary, assault, drugs, robbery, vandalism, and so forth.

That spike is at 1500 hours (3:00 p.m.). The times are much different than adult cases, which are relatively level through the day, then peak between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.. It's pretty clear from this why police chiefs and police officers are often interested in productive after school activities for kids. Over the years, lots of Lincoln police officers have invested their personal time in helping to ensure good activities for kids in Lincoln. There are many officers who have served as scout leaders, camp counselors, mentors, coaches, and more. Police officers are keenly aware of the difference a committed adult can make in the life of a child.


Anonymous said...

Often times the police officers think that they are spinning the wheels when it comes to helping the kids. Well let me tell you that we need to keep pushing the kids along the road to success. The times the LPD has picked my kid up for an offense or two has helped my son to get the counseling and help he needs. The officers he has met along the way are a part of the intervention that we needed. Thank you for the "keep pushing" and dont quit on our kids. You are helping even when you think its no hope. bbrk

Anonymous said...

That afternoon juvie crime window existed back when I was a kid, but generally only for those few living with a single parent (quite rare when I grew up) or a weak "no-leash-on-the-kids" parent that was on tranquilizers. There's a lot of value to having a strong parent in the home between the end of school and the end of the professional 9-5ish workday.

Not all kids can do school sports, but most can, and that's one of several good ways to take the starch out of their sheets each afternoon. Pads and helmet in 95 degree weather, doing repeated drills, laps, scrimmages, etc to make a kid want to shower, eat, and relax. Much like dogs, if you wear them out with physical exertion once a day, they tend to be a lot better-adjusted to the world around them. There's no universal prescription, but that's one course of treatment to try out.

Anonymous said...

This is great information, Chief Casady. I seem to recall one of the resource officers telling our elementary school PTO that a shift change ocurring between 3 and 4 PM made it difficult to monitor traffic violations near our school after dismissal time at 3:38 PM. Is that correct? I think he said that at the time schools are generally dismissing, officers are en route back to the stations to change shifts. Maybe I am remembering incorrectly. Could you enlighten me? I remember thinking at the time (when I heard the officer speak) that it seemed unlikely that all officers would be heading off duty at the same time.

However, if the officer did say (correctly) that there are fewer officers on the streets between 3 and 4 PM than between 2 and 3 PM, then could that possibly account for the greater level of criminal activity by juveniles at that time?

Tom Casady said...

Anonymous 11:32-

You might want to read one of my old posts for some more information about this, No simple solution but here's the scoop in a nutshell:

You have to try to avoid shift changes during the peak demand periods (evening rush and bar break), and you have to stagger shift changes to you're not pulling people all off the street at the same time. As a result, we have groups of officers who are coming on duty at the following times:

6:05 a.m.
6:35 a.m.
7:05 a.m.
7:35 a.m.
8:05 a.m.
2:35 p.m.
4:05 p.m.
6:05 p.m.
7:05 p.m.
9:05 p.m.
11:05 p.m

Officers are working 8, 10, or 12 hour shifts. The introduction of 12 hour shifts and the dropping of a shift starting time at 3:35 p.m. have helped our coverage in the late afternoon, but our small size in general makes it unlikely that we can be around schools much at dismissal time. We're normally holding calls by the time the 2:35 shift hits the street, and it stays that way until after 6:00 p.m., when there's a bit of a breather.

Anonymous said...

I have sat on several committees through the schools and listened to studies that state kids don’t function and learn as well in the early morning. So what do we do? Start some classes before 8:00 and let the kids get out early, unsupervised because the parents are working and can’t afford or can’t find after school care. I was told that they do this to not interfere with sport practice schedules. Great for those kids but what about the others? I think we should start school later and/or have more affordable, accessible after-school programs. Unfortunately, my job does not allow the flexibility to be home after school. The after school programs are already full so I had to make other (even more costly) arrangements.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the explanation and the link to your previous post. I certainly understand that directing traffic around the schools should not be a priority for police in this city. I think traffic safety near schools needs to be put back in the hands of the parents. As I dropped my son off at Irving School this morning, I once again held my breath as some parents dropped their children off on the east side of 22nd Street so that they could run in front of my car. I'm glad they trust me so much and only hope I can always pay attention so their children are safe.

I know I'm veering off topic but reading your prior post made me go there. We all need to work together to keep our children safe - getting them to school safely, and making sure they are safe when we aren't able to be with them after school hours also. Thanks for all that you do to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:07
Your theory sounds theory. Problem is, though, most people have to be to work between
8 and 9 am. If we started school later, then everyone would complain about how they were going to get their kids TO school. Perhaps those studies you refer to fail to address one common problem. Parents don't make their kids go to bed at an appropriate time, so when the kids get up for school, they're exhausted. As one of the officers who gives of his time to after school coaching, there are an awful lot of kids who take part in those activities. I would guess more than those who don't. What would we do with those activities if kids are in school until 5 or 6 pm? For a lot these kids, it's the only physical exercise they get (playing the Wii doesn't count!!).