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Juvenile crime rates rising, but remain below pre-pandemic levels

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Posted on: October 4, 2023

BY SOPHIE ORIANI

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services released a research brief on Sept. 12 showing that after a significant dip in juvenile crimes during the pandemic, the past couple of years show that crimes committed by juveniles are on the rise. 

The brief notes that although juvenile crime is rising, it is still below the pre-pandemic crime levels, and does not reverse a trend that can be observed over the past decades of falling juvenile crime.

In Maryland, juveniles make up about 7% of all arrests, despite being 22% of the state population according to Index Mundi.

The brief also noted that the number of juvenile victims has been rising in the state much faster than juvenile offenders. For example, the number of youth who are victims of gun violence quadrupled over the last decade.

Carjacking, non-violent auto theft, and handgun violations are three categories where the brief notes a significant rise over the post-pandemic period.

In Hyattsville, juvenile arrests for the first quarter of 2023 more than doubled compared to the same time period a year previously, with 9 juvenile suspects being arrested in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 4 in 2022. (For comparison, adult arrests actually went down by 20%.)

If juveniles are arrested at the same rate for the rest of the year (crime statistics up to September have not been published as of press time), this will reverse a trend of declining juvenile arrests locally, as 18 juveniles were arrested in Hyattsville during all of 2022, which was a drop from 24 in 2021 and 41 in 2020.

In nearby Washington DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has instituted a curfew for youth, as one of several strategies meant to stop a rise in crime, including several high-profile murders. In one case, a 14-year-old has been charged with murdering a construction worker.

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