Upward Juvenile Violent Crime Trend 'Disturbing'


  • Countywide Juvenile Justice Consortium

Juvenile crime is down, overall, in the first half of 2019, but violent crime is up enough for a law enforcement official to call the trend “disturbing.”

New figures from the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County were published Tuesday by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. The numbers had “both good news and bad news on juvenile crime," according to the commission.

The good news: the number of overall charges against juveniles was down 9 percent from the same time last year. So far, 3,096 charges were lodges against youths here.

  • Memphis Shelby Crime Commission

“The reduction may not totally be attributable to a drop in the number of alleged delinquent acts but rather to programs designed to divert youthful offenders from the Juvenile Court system for lower level offenses,” reads a report from the commission.

Shelby County Schools, for example, has implemented School House Adjustment Program Enterprise (S.H.A.P.E.). The program is aimed at reducing the number of students sent through the Juvenile Court system for minor infractions.

The bad news: the number of charges for violent juvenile crime is up. These charges include murder, rape, robbery, and other offenses. So far this year, 463 such charges have been filed. That’s up from 282 charges in the same time last year.

  • Memphis Shelby Crime Commission

“More violent crime by juveniles is a disturbing trend,” said Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich. “The victims of these crimes don’t suffer any less simply because the person who pointed a gun at them is 16 years old. We have to commit as a community to reducing these numbers."

Other numbers found that nearly half (47.1 percent) of all complaints filed during the first half of this year involved repeat offenders.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Add a comment