Report: Juvenile Crime Soared Nationwide Following Pandemic-Related School Shutdowns

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Crime among juveniles soared nationwide following the pandemic-related school shutdowns in 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from law enforcement agencies.

Juvenile crime had been steadily decreasing from 2000 to 2010, as youths in detention facilities had dropped by 77 percent, according to federal data. However, the rate of juveniles being either the perpetrators or victims of violent crime has substantially risen since the start of the decade.

In 2020, crimes committed by juveniles acting alone rose by 30 percent from the previous year, while crimes committed by multiple juveniles rose by 66 percent. Federal data from 2020 also revealed that the rate of juveniles committing homicide against other juveniles was at a two-decade high.

The rise in youth violence appears to be connected to the disruptions in learning from the pandemic lockdowns, the WSJ reported:

Police, prosecutors and community groups attribute much of the youth violence to broad disruptions that started with the pandemic and lockdowns. Schools shut down, depriving students of structure in daily life, as did services for troubled children. Increased stress compounded a swelling mental-health crisis. Social-media conflicts increasingly turned deadly.

The outlet also reported that authorities claim that heightened gang activity and easier access to firearms have contributed to youth violence.

Major urban cities, such as New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, have released data that shows the trend of youth criminal incidences has risen since 2020.

In the Big Apple, 157 youths were the victims of a shooting incident. In comparison, only 127 youths were victims in 2018 and 2019 combined. Furthermore, 124 juveniles committed shootings in 2022, double the rate from two years ago.

Violence at juvenile detention facilities has also reportedly increased since the pandemic within the city, as there were more 257 youth-on-youth incidences from January 1 to June 30, 2022, at a Bronx juvenile facility, almost than double from the same period from the previous year, the New York Post reported.

In Philadelphia, 117 juveniles were arrested for shootings in 2022, up from 43 in 2020. More disturbingly, 81 juveniles were reportedly murdered in 2022, compared to just 52 in 2019 and 2020 combined.

Homicides among youth have also risen considerably in Washington DC, as 16 youths were fatally shot last year compared to just nine in 2021. There were also 214 juveniles arrested on firearm-related cases in the nation’s capital last year.

The rise in juvenile crime has promoted Democrat Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark to consider more punitive measures against violent youth criminals, despite previously supporting a 2017 state law that discontinued prosecuting 16 and 17-year-olds as adults.

“I don’t want to lock them up and throw away the key because they’re young,” Clark recently told the WSJ. “But at the same time, they have to know the consequences for their actions.”

Clark also conceded that too many juveniles are being sent to family court on firearm-possession cases and are being released early as a result. If this continues, the district attorney fears that they may commit a more serious crime in the future or end up being killed themselves.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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