Increasing Access to Gyms Can Help Keep Youth Out of Crime

The government should offer more funding for the construction of public gyms

Youth may be less likely to get involved in criminal activities if given access to gyms. (pxfuel)

People may be working out from home during the pandemic, but once social distancing becomes unnecessary, they’ll flood back to their local gyms. One of the demographics that could get the most out of these facilities is vulnerable youth at risk of getting involved in crime.

There are several reasons why youth turn to crime, but one is plain boredom.

Kisa and teenagers might feel restless or unfulfilled. Breaking the rules and disobeying authorities can provide a level of satisfaction for some kids. They are told to be good all their lives, so the appeal of doing something not good is hard to resist, and fighting against the system can be cathartic.

Clearly, there are different degrees of rebellion. Skipping detention and joining a gang are two very different things, but both are inspired — at least in part — by escaping the doldrums of life. Boredom is far from the only reason why youth get into gangs, however, and home life plays a big role as well. In some cases, kids might join a gang as a way to supplement family interaction.

By building more gyms with affordable fees and producing more sports programs for youth, the B.C. government could cut down crime by stopping it before it starts. GIving kids a place to exercise in a social environment can help keep them safe and satisfied.

This was confirmed by a HuffPost article detailing the positive effects of sports in reducing crime statistics among youth in Florida. There, a youth athletics program called Success Through Academic and Recreational Support has helped reduce the amount of juvenile arrests by nearly 1/3 since the program started.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also has a youth crime prevention program called Line Up, Live Up. It was established to get vulnerable youths out of crime and violence by introducing sports into their curriculum. According to the office’s website, “Girls and boys between the ages of 13 and 18 are trained on ways to cope with common challenges, emotional, and psychological stress and educated to sharpen their critical thinking, decision making, and problem-solving skills.”

Establishing community sports centers and gyms in areas where crime and gang involvement is high could help make Surrey safer by empowering youth to be productive. In the long run, it could also save the government thousands of dollars that would have otherwise gone to police and prisons.

While there is a lot of work being done to help cut down crime and violence among at-risk youth in Surrey, young people here need more outlets for their aggression. Physical activity kills boredom, and gyms can be a safe place for self-improvement and expression.

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