Parkour reduces youth crime

When the Metropolitan Police put on sports projects, a radical reduction in youth crime followed.

An article in the Independent in January 2009 described how , when sports projects were run in the borough of Westminster by the Metropolitan Police during the 2005 Easter holidays, youth crime dropped by 39 per cent. The following year, the most recent for which figures are available, when parkour was added to the projects, youth crime fell by 69 per cent.

Comments on this article on the newspaper’s website included one from a reader who thought it was foolish to teach these skills to young criminals, as they would only be able to escape more quickly following a crime. The next comment was made from a young person who pointed out that when young people feel skilled, have a hobby they enjoy and makes them feel important, they don’t resort to crime. In addition to this, the Police have helped the youngsters to change their perceptions of: a) themselves – they see themselves as able to learn new skills, as competent and powerful; b) the Police – no longer the enemy but providers of fun and skill; and c) the local environment they previously thought of as boring is now full of potential as a playground and outdoor gym.

If you don’t know what Parkour (free running) is, watch this Youtube video. It made me want to give it a try myself.

Future articles I will tell you about Hertfordshire Police’s new approach to alcohol-related violence and how a golf club reduced criminal damage through using effective psychology (Choice Theory)

Now read: Choice Theory: 5 Basic Needs

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