Youth and violence: statistics

CHARACTER COUNTS! program statistics

CHARACTER COUNTS! doesn't merely cut youth violence. It also narrows the paths leading to it and widens those leading away. Some examples:

CHARACTER COUNTS! reduces youth violence

CHARACTER COUNTS! cuts the risk factors for violence

Criminal acts

  • CC! drastically improved recidivism at Tulare County Probation Youth Facility in California. Just 8% of the youths in the modified “boot camp” committed crimes in post aftercare, compared to a national rate of 72% — an amazing result.
    • Only 30% of youths committed crimes in residence — less than half the national average of 64%.
  • CC! cut crime among South Dakota middle and high school students. Those who said they had:
    • Broken into another’s property dropped 50%.
    • Used a fake ID dropped 56%.
    • Taken something without paying dropped 46%.
    • Defaced or vandalized property dropped 46%.
    • Drunk alcoholic beverages dropped 31%.
    • Taken illegal drugs dropped 32%.
  • CC! cut school-related crime among young people in St. Johns County, Florida:
    • All such crimes fell 74%, while in next-door Flagler County they fell only 9%.
    • Crimes against property fell 83%, while in Flagler they fell 10%.
    • Larceny fell 89%, but in Flagler only 12%.
    • Vandalism fell 69%, while in Flagler it fell 53%.
    • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug offenses fell 70%, while in next-door Flagler they fell 57%.
    • Disorderly conduct fell 89%, but in Flagler only 5%.
  • CC! cut youth crime in the town of Lombard, Illinois. Lombard police report that from 1997 to 2002, offenses typical of youths decreased. Crime reports of:
    • Graffiti fell from 115 to 45 (61%).
    • Curfew violation fell from 50 to 16 (68%).
    • Truancy fell from 51 to 19 (63%).
    • Marijuana use or possession from 109 to 89 (18%).
    • Illegal alcohol use or possession from 102 to 60 (41%).
  • CC! reduced crime in the Maricopa County Juvenile Court System in Arizona. “I was amazed. Our incidents in detention have gone down and I attribute that to the implementation of the CHARACTER COUNTS! curriculum.” — System director Cherie Townsend

Improvement in school climate

Teachers and administrators repeatedly say CC! enhances the school climate. "It's like night and day," says Linda Jones, who ran CC! in the Dallas public schools. "The whole emotional atmosphere of the building changes. It becomes a kinder, gentler place." In other words, more kids are forging better ties with each other.

  • CC! improved students' interactions in Nebraska
    • 61% saw students help each other more frequently.
    • 55% saw fewer instances of students blaming others.
    • 50% saw more instances of students being truthful.
    • 85% saw an overall positive difference in children.
  • CC! improved students' interaction in South Dakota. Teachers saw the change:
    • 40% of teachers said students treated each other better after one year, and 52% said so after three
    • 34% of teachers said students helped each other more often after one year, and 51% said so after three.
  • And students who said they had:
    • Teased someone because of race or ethnicity dropped 45%.
    • Received a detention or suspension dropped 28%.
  • CC! increased the students in extracurricular activities by 58% at Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard, Illinois, over five years.
  • CC! cut suspensions 94% — from 32 to 2 — in seven years at Duranes Elementary School in Albuquerque. "Good behavior has become the norm and misbehavior the exception," said principal Gabe Garcia. [Source: The U.S. Department of Education’s Community Update, October, 2001]
  • CC! cut discipline referrals 75% at Easton Elementary (grades 2-5) in Easton, Maryland, over the four years.
  • CC! cut discipline referrals 71% — from 500 to 145 — in one year at Atlantis Elementary in Cocoa, Florida
  • CC! cut discipline referrals 48% in one year at North Ridge Elementary, in Lubbock, Texas. The number fell from 425 to 220. [Patricia Cloud Duttweiler and Marilyn Madden, “The District That Does What’s Best for Kids: Frenship ISD,” a report for the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Winter 2001]

Commitment to school

  • CC! improved test scores in Atlantis Elementary in Cocoa, Florida.
    • The percentage of students scoring level 3 or above (on an ascending 1-5 scale) on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment test rose from 45% to 78% in one year.
  • CC! led to changes in South Dakota which demonstrate a greater commitment to school. Student who said they had:
    • Cheated on an exam dropped 30%.
    • Missed class without a legitimate excuse dropped 39%.
    • Failed to get schoolwork done on time dropped 24%.
    • Lied to a teacher dropped 35%.
  • CC! increased by 58% the number of students in extracurricular activities at Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard, Illinois, over five years.

General statistics on youth violence