Social Interventions: Recreation

Youth who participate in recreational activities are more likely to do well in school and to have high self-esteem and good social skills.1 These personal qualities have in turn been associated with a lower likelihood of involvement in criminal activity.2

There are numerous examples of recreation centres that have substantially altered the crime rate in their neighbourhoods. The link is so well-known that police have often become involved in recreation projects. In Ottawa, for example, police convinced City Hall to continue funding for a local community centre by showing that calls to police in that area had dropped by 60% since the centre opened. In Whitehorse, police worked with a high school principal to provide transportation and recreation to youth who had been bent on joy-riding. (See Preventing Crime Through Social Development Bulletin No. 7, 2003.)

Integrating recreation into school and job-readiness programs can be a particularly effective way to provide youth with alternatives, and Winnipeg has some interesting examples of these kinds of initiatives. (See “Thinking Outside the Hood” in Preventing Crime through Social Development Bulletin No. 8, 2004.)

Other Social Interventions

  Addictions Treatment
  Countering Violence
  Early Childhood Education
  Positive Parenting
  Secondary Education
  Special Needs Programming


1Hanvey, Louise. The Progress of Canada’s Children 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development, 2002. For details, see

2Waller, I. and Weiler, D. Crime Prevention Through Social Development. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development, 1984.