A recent report in the Natchez Democrat dealt with northern Mississippi youth crime statistics and discussed how the trends do not appear to follow conventional wisdom. Though many people might assume that when school is out incidents of youth crime would increase, the opposite is actually true.
Looking at arrest records for the past two years, the data shows that the number of Natchez and Adams County young people arrested are among the lowest in the summer months. Though this seems counterintuitive, a local Youth Court judge says the reason is because kids are dispersed throughout the community and not all located in one spot, something that’s conducive to committing crime.
Last year, officers in Natchez and Adams County arrested a total of 227 teenagers. The crimes ran the gamut from burglary and robbery to petty theft and shoplifting. Of those, only 35 occurred between the beginning of June and the end of August. The month with the highest number of arrests in 2012 was actually April, when kids are still attending school. In 2011, 226 teens were arrested and February saw the most arrests.
While the summer decline in crime is good news for parents worried about their children getting into trouble, even better news comes from the Mississippi Department of Human Services, which says there has been a steep overall decline in youth crime in recent years. The agency collects data about juvenile crime in the state and found that those offenses committed by individuals between 11 and 19 in Adams County numbered 320 in 2012. Though this might sound like a lot, it’s actually dramatically lower than in 2000 when 600 juvenile crimes were committed in Adams County. Though many people long for the good ol’ days, according to juvenile crime experts, things were actually much worse several decades ago.
Though the numbers are interesting, the fact is youth crime is a complicated subject. In some cases, small time crimes are merely incidents of bored children acting stupid. In other cases, crimes can be the sign that a troubled child needs help or therapy and may be acting out to get attention from disengaged parents. Solutions are never easy, but youth crime should be taken seriously given that it can set a dangerous precedent for future criminal behavior as adults. Youth Courts are frequently willing to work with and rehabilitate offenders, something the Mississippi adult criminal justice system has much less patience for.
If you’ve been involved in something that requires the skill of an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer and your freedom is at stake, please call us today at 833-536-5656 for a free consultation.
Source: “Area youth crime statistics do not follow conventional wisdom,” by Rod Guajardo, published at NatchezDemocrat.com.