We all know that children often become what they’re exposed to, whether they live in high-crime areas, are the victims of abuse and neglect, or exposed to a substantial amount of crime/violence through television, video games, etc. Thankfully, fighting crime through education, school programs, and providing support for troubled kids can help us build a future society of young people who instead of turning to crime can live productive, successful lives and hopefully avoid becoming a defendant in the criminal justice system.
Education is Our Future
Children today are tomorrow’s adults; what we must do is instill in kids that crime and violence are to be avoided. This can begin at a very young age, and impact how our world will look 10 or 20 years from now in terms of crime rates. An organization called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids supports anti-crime efforts and takes a close look at research regarding what we can all do to help ensure today’s kids don’t become tomorrow’s criminals. The organization provides information that helps parents, police, and the general public understand what steps can be taken to improve kids’ lives and educate them about crime.
Some of the areas of focus include:
Early care and education. Early education during childhood years is critical to helping young children get a head start on school, and becoming productive members of society. It’s also important for crime prevention, as those in programs such as Head Start come from impoverished backgrounds, so developing not only in terms of intelligence but also emotionally and socially are important. According to research, children who do not have access to pre-kindergarten programs are far more at risk of becoming criminals before the age of 30 than those who have the privilege of attending pre-kindergarten programs. While several organizations/agencies have funded Head Start and Early Head Start over the last several years, Invest in Kids continues to work with Congress to reach funding levels that will make it possible for more children who are at risk to attend quality pre-kindergarten programs.
Child Abuse Can Create Violent Offenders
Child abuse and neglect. Not all children who are abused and/or neglected in youth grow up to become criminals, however those who are abused/neglected are far more likely to become offenders. Studies show that among those who are the victims of abuse and neglect, about 25,000 per year will suffer the effects of that abuse, themselves becoming criminals as adults because of what they endured as children. New parents often need direction to properly raise children into responsible adults, home visiting programs that rely on trained professionals who supply parents with the skill, support, and information necessary to raise children in a healthy, safe environment.
Mentoring and After School Programs Work
After school programs an mentoring are powerful tools when it comes to the prevention of crime. Participating in after-school programs is essential for children and juveniles, as those hours immediately following the end of the school day is when most juvenile crimes take place. Whether sports, art, music, technology, counseling, or other programs, those students most at risk including middle and high school students benefit immensely from programs designed to enrich young people’s lives and steer them in a positive direction. A busy pre-teen or teen involved in activities he/she enjoys is far less likely to get into mischief, which can lead to criminal mischief (or even worse) as an adult.
Getting troubled kids back on track requires intervention early on. Additionally, prevention programs can help steer troubled youths or teens down a more positive path, before he/she commits a crime and possibly shatters a victim’s life. With prevention and intervention programs, neighborhoods and schools across the nation can be made far safer than they are today. Bullying, gangs, drugs, dropping out of school before graduation – all of these things and much more contribute to juvenile delinquency today. Juveniles who commit minor crimes out of immaturity, due to peer pressure, or because of a bad childhood often grow into adults who commit far more serious crimes. As responsible adults, we can participate in programs to help ensure troubled kids have the resources to put their lives on a positive track.
Everyone Can Play a Part to Help Our Youth Have Fruitful Futures
It’s up to all of us – parents, teachers, law enforcement, attorneys, counselors, religious leaders, anyone who comes into contact with young children and juveniles on a regular basis, to invest in our kids’ future and help fight crime. With our help and the assistance of programs and funding designed just for this purpose, the nation can be a much safer one in future years with far fewer individuals facing criminal charges and possibly life-changing punishment. Isn’t it time to change the course of our youth, and start building toward a safer future for everyone?