Report: Juvenile Arrests Drop To 42-Year Low In Florida

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The number of juvenile arrests continue to drop in Florida hitting a historic low, the governor announced Thursday.

“Our state has made significant strides in reforming our juvenile justice system and I am proud to announce today that juvenile arrests have dropped to a historic 42-year low,” said Governor Rick Scott.

This according to a delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

“More than six years ago, DJJ committed to improve Florida’s juvenile justice system through innovative and aggressive reforms. The continued decline in juvenile arrests year after year demonstrates our reform efforts are working,” said DJJ Secretary Christina Daly.

Around the state, juvenile arrests dropped another 7 percent this last fiscal year.

It’s part of a five-year decline of 24 percent.

The counties with the largest drop in rates include Orange, Hillsborough, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

In Broward and Miami-Dade counties, juvenile arrests have dropped by 7 percent. In Palm Beach County, it’s dropped by 4 percent.

Kadi Tarlecky of the South Dade YMCA was thrilled to hear of the new juvenile arrest numbers.

“I think it’s amazing first of all that we’re going in the right direction. I think a lot of organizations are taking notice of our teens and have really started to work together to have impact on those teens,“ Tarlecky said.

Miami-Dade Police have a vigorous outreach and intervention program for at-risk youth in coordination with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

“We don’t just work with the kids, we follow them through their school, we visit with them and their families in their homes,” said Asst. Police Director Freddy Ramirez.

Parent Jan Novar was buoyed by the improved juvenile crime figures.

I think that’s wonderful that the kids are somehow now setting good values.” Novar said.

Just as it has taken a village to bring up more clean, wholesome youngsters, it has also taken considerable time.

“It’s not something that has happened overnight. For example, the YMCA has been working on youth development and teen programming for years and years now, and we’re starting to see the results of all those programs,“ said the YMCA’s Tarlecky.

The latest delinquency report, which covers the last 5 years, indicated a decline in felony offenses. This includes a 15 percent drop in murder/manslaughter arrests and a 7 percent drop in aggravated assault arrests. There’s also been a 4 percent drop in auto theft arrests and a 14 percent drop in misdemeanor arrests.

Click here to read the full report.