You’ve read stories about youth crime, and you’re wondering what you can do to make sure he’s safe. Here are some facts and ideas:
• Perhaps the best thing you can do, is to make sure your teen is active in a structured after-school activity. There’s growing evidence that the hours from two p.m. to eight p.m. are when teens are most at risk.
• It’s not late nights that are so dangerous—only about one-seventh of all juvenile crime occurs during those hours. It’s the period after school when juvenile crime really jumps—in fact, the number of crimes committed by juveniles triples at three p.m., and half of all the crimes committed by teens take place between two p.m. and eight p.m.
• And it’s not just the crimes of violence that are a problem after school. It’s also when teens experiment with drugs and sexual activity. More than three quarters of first-time sexual encounters take place at someone’s house, and most of those are in those dangerous after-school hours.
Besides the risk of teen pregnancy, this after-school sexual activity puts teens at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Today, 60 percent of the cases of sexually transmitted diseases are contracted by teens.
• What can you do? Make sure your teen is involved in structured after-school activities like sports or band. If he comes home and you’re not there, set clear rules about where he can go, which friends he can entertain and what responsibilities he has.
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