It's 3 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Child Is or What He/She Is Doing? An Exploratory Study on the Timing of Juvenile Victimization and Delinquency.
Soulé, David Alan
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In recent years, after-school programs have received considerable public and policymaker support for their potential to reduce juvenile delinquency and victimization. In large part, this support stems from a series of recent reports, which indicated juvenile crime and victimization peaks during the after-school hours (Snyder et al., 1996; Snyder and Sickmund, 1999). However, much of the existing research suffers from a few key limitations. Utilizing self-report data collected from a sample of juveniles participating in an evaluation of after-school programs in Maryland, this study was designed to more clearly determine the timing of juvenile victimization, delinquency, and substance use by addressing some of the key limitations of previous research. In general, the results of the current study present a somewhat different picture of the timing of juvenile offending behavior. The examination of the aggregated measures indicated juvenile victimization and delinquent was most prominent during the school hours, while substance was elevated during the weekend. Notably, an examination of the individual offenses revealed more variation in the timing of juvenile victimization and delinquency. The more serious violent offenses for both victimization (e.g. victim of an aggravated assault) and delinquency (e.g. involvement in gang fights) were elevated during the after school hours, while simple assaults offenses (for both victims and delinquents) were overwhelming most prominent during school hours. This finding suggests that one undesirable side effect of grouping youths together for schooling is an increase in simple assault crimes. In addition, the current study revealed the greatest percentage of substance users reported using cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana during the weekend hours. However after controlling for the actual amount of time available to use these substances in each time period, cigarette and smokeless tobacco use was slightly more elevated during the after-school hours than during the weekend hours, while alcohol and marijuana use were most prominent during the weekend hours. In sum, earlier studies that either examined a single offense or aggregated crime measures were misleading because the timing of crime varies considerably by type of crime. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.