POPULAR teen program Night Hoops has reduced crime in the Northam Shire, according to WA Police.
The program has finished up for the year, after being introduced to the region in July 2017.
WA police youth crime intervention officer Nick Jacobs revealed that crime rates reduced in town between 7 and 11pm when the program was running.
Mr Jacobs said he “scrutinised the police computer systems and assessed incidents” in the Northam Shire during the second six week tournament, from October 14 to November 18.
“There were no incidents of a criminal or antisocial nature involving juveniles that occurred while the Night Hoops program was running,” he said.
He said credit should be given to the organisers and volunteers of the program.
Fifty five people attended the first tournament per night on average and 37 on average attended the second.
Tournament manager James West said the social night was a great addition in Northam and helped to engage young people in positive activites.
“It was very successful,” Mr West said.
“All up we had 557 attendees over the two tournaments.
Mr West said the tournament, for 12 to 18-year-olds, would run during winter in 2018, if they can secure funding.
He said that time of the year attracted more participants because there was less to do around town.
Mr West said the program started for that exact reason.
“There was nothing for them to do from 6-12pm so some teenagers would walk the streets and get into trouble,” he said.
Different workshops were held over the two tournaments and a free healthy dinner was provided.
Mr West said issues that concerned teenagers were discussed including safe-sex, drugs, alcohol and health.
“We had an emphasis on protecting young females,” he said.
On the last Night Hoops session, Mr West said he asked the participants if they wanted the program to run next year.
“Every hand went up,” he said.
The project was organised by the Northam Shire, Northam PCYC, WA Police, Wheatbelt Health Network, the Department of Sport and Recreation and Avon Youth.