In 2002 and 2003 teen-crime leveled off according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 2006. For the first time juvenile crime overall is at the lowest level in 36 years. During this time the youth population from ages 15 to 19 has grown approximately 23%.
Several factors for this decrease include a thriving economy, improved strategies for dealing with real and potential delinquents, more adult imprisonment, smarter policing and better school-parent partnerships. In the â€˜90s experts tracked what worked and what didnâ€™t work in dealing with teen crime. Boot camps didnâ€™t work; juveniles in adult courts didnâ€™t work; suspending kids from school didnâ€™t work. Big Brother and Big Sister mentoring worked and caring foster homes worked.
According to the Justice Department there are specific risk factors for delinquent behavior. Some of these factors include child abuse and family disintegration, economic and social deprivation, low neighborhood attachment, parental attitudes condoning law violating behavior, academic failure, truancy, school drop-out, lack of bonding with society, fighting with peers and antisocial behaviors early on in life.
The state of Minnesota needs to continue programs such as early education, after school programs, child support enforcement and child care to prevent kids from becoming criminals. Mentoring programs as well as drug prevention programs are proven crime fighting tools that will keep our kids from a life of crime.