10/05/2012 01:46 EDT | Updated 12/05/2012 05:12 EST

Manitoba government hopes $500,000 sports program will reduce youth crime

WINNIPEG - Manitoba hopes a $500,000 sports program will help keep young people out of crime.

Much of the money will be spent on equipment and upgrading sports facilities.

Under the program community-based groups can apply for cash to buy everything from volleyballs to hockey pucks to goal posts.

Kevin Chief, who is minister of children and youth opportunities, says the program was designed after public meetings and input from municipal and First Nations leaders.

Statistics Canada says the number of crime cases completed in youth court fell in every province last year except Manitoba, where it was up three per cent from the previous year.