Juvenile crime Progress: Decrease in arrests is encouraging, but much more work remains to be done.

October 06, 1998

RECENTLY released statistics on juvenile arrests look lik progress, but it's far too early to declare victory.

The state's 7 percent reduction in juvenile arrests for violent crime from 1996 to 1997 is an indicator that doesn't tell us about crimes committed by teens who have not been taken into police custody for their misdeeds.

Moreover, the juvenile justice system is in no danger of going out of business.

Still, the results look impressive: Juvenile arrests in connection with serious crimes -- murder, robbery, rape and aggravated assault -- were down substantially.

Programs such as the state's "hot spots" effort to put more DTC officers in troubled neighborhoods and Baltimore County's Juvenile Offenders in Need of Supervision to deter first-time offenders from a life of crime seem promising.

Certainly juvenile crime statistics are moving in the right direction, but it is at most a small step up a very high ladder.

Pub Date: 10/06/98

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