Juvenile Violent Crime

There is a growing concern that across the United States the spurt in violent-crimes are linked to an increasing number of juveniles who are involved in armed robberies, assaults and other violent crimes. An increasing number of juveniles are involved in violent crimes committed by gangs. These juveniles have increasingly used weapons. The states where a sharp increase in juvenile crimes has been reported include Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Washington and Boston.

For example, the number of juvenile arrests made in Boston for robbery increased by 54% in 2005(Johnson, K. 2006). In general there are two reasons for the increase in juvenile crimes. First, the budgets are tight and the stress on fighting terrorism has diverted federal and state funds from programs of youth. Second, the gang leaders are recruiting the youth for illegal activities including carrying guns (Johnson, K. 2006). In the state of Ohio this hypothesis is disproved. Juvenile murders per 100,000 reached its acme in 1992 and then decreased 60. 2% by 1999.

Similarly, juvenile violent crimes per 100,000 teenagers reached its summit in 1997 and then reduced by 9% in the year 1999. In fact there does not appear to be any wave of juvenile crime wave at the State level in Ohio. In fact the crime graph for juvenile imprisonments shows a decline. In fact, one explanation is that even though there is an increase in the juvenile violent crime arrests made all over the USA, there was no comparable increase in the level of the crimes. There are several reasons given why the juvenile crime in Ohio has not increased.

There have been effort to prevent drugs from being easily available, the local law enforcement has been buttressed, DNA testing has been speeded up, protection to children against sexual predators has been improved, tough action against gun carrying criminals and stronger action to find lost, oppressed and runaway children. Since 1994, juvenile crime levels in the state of Ohio have fallen by more than 30% in 2001(Office of U. S. Senator Mike DeWine 2006). One reason for this decrease can be an additional spending of $250 million grant for the state to combat juvenile crime (Office of U. S.

Senator Mike DeWine 2006). This is in sharp contrast to the national scenario where the spending and focus has been diverted from juvenile crime prevention programs to that of fighting terrorism. There are several reasons why there are differences between the national trends and the Ohio trends relating to juvenile crime prevention. The incarceration sentences in Ohio have been increased so there is no extensive release of gang leaders and efforts to recruit the youth. While states like Minneapolis have reduced funding for city programs, Ohio has an increased budget for combating juvenile crime.

The trends in Michigan are interesting; from the year 1990 to 1994 there was an increase in juvenile arrests in Michigan of about 8%. These crimes included murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson. In 1995 the arrests for all juvenile crimes fell by 5%. The decrease in the arrests for violent crimes is not considered to be very important because in 1995 the crime reporting system was under a process of conversion and in most probability the conversion led to underreporting.

In addition, in Michigan the use of drugs by 8th grade and 10th grade students has doubled since 1990. Further, one in every twenty high school seniors uses marijuana every day. To sum, there is a country wide increase in violent juvenile crimes like murder, forcible rape, grand theft, auto theft, robbery and aggravated assault over the last 10 years. This trend is attributed to a diversion of funds and attention of law enforcement to more urgent tasks of fighting terrorism. The trends in Michigan follow the countrywide trend.

However, in the state of Ohio because of improved funding and initiatives, juvenile violent crime rates are falling.

References:
Johnson, K. (2006) “Police Tie Jump In Crime To Juveniles”, USA TODAY. Retrieved on October 31, 2006 from: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-07-12-juveniles-cover_x.htm Office of U. S. Senator Mike DeWine (2006)

“U. S. Senator Mike DeWine: Leading the Fight against Crime and Illegal Drugs” Retrieved on October 31, 2006 from: http://dewine.senate.gov/crimepolicy.htm