According to statistics from Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice, the number of youths charged with violent felonies dropped 7% statewide between fiscal year 2003-2004 and 2007-2008. The decrease was 2% in Broward County, 12% in Palm Beach County, and 13% in Miami-Dade County. The drop in juvenile crime rates came despite a rise in population.
Crime experts attribute the decrease to better support programs for teens and a general drop in crime levels, including teenage crime. Another factor may be the departure from zero-tolerance policies from the past. For instance, instead of automatic arrest an officer can now turn minors over to the wrath of their parents.
While overall statistics show a drop in juvenile crime, several recent incidents in South Florida show that teens are still committing violent crimes. Last month, a 17-year-old Miami student stabbed a teen classmate to death at Coral Gables High School. And in 2008, a 12-year-old Lauderhill boy bludgeons his infant cousin to death with a baseball bat.
Brutal cases aside, juvenile crime down in South Florida, figures show, South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 14, 2009
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