Following the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, Americans feared a wave of juvenile crime would wrack the nation’s schools. It never happened.
In fact, teenage crime has been dropping, reports KnightRidder on a new Justice Department report. Homicide arrests fell from 3,800 annually at teen crime’s peak to less than 1,000. Arrest rates are down one-third.
The question is why? A lot of reasons are given, but no one is really sure. Here are some possibilities:
- Increased security at schools.
- A drop in crack cocaine prices, lessening the exploitation of kids to serve as mules.
- Population shifts, which includes blacks moving into suburbs and Latino families taking over inner cities.
- Improved programs, such as Big Brother and Big Sister mentoring.
- A decline in teenage mothers.
The most probable cause of improvement, though, is the economy. Most teenagers, who have trouble in school or drop out, will simple go to work as long as there are jobs.
Whatever the reason, it’s so nice to find a “good” story. I hope it’s true.