Juvenile crime down in Florida - arrests hit 40-year low
Florida continues to be a national leader in juvenile justice
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott announced that the number of juvenile arrests continued to decline in 2015-2016 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Statewide, juvenile arrests dropped another 7 percent in the last fiscal year, which resulted in a six-year decline of 37 percent. This year’s decrease is keeping in line with the drop in delinquency Florida has had each year, resulting in the lowest number of juvenile arrests in more than forty years.
Governor Scott said, “The continued decline in juvenile arrests in Florida is a reflection of our commitment to keeping our communities safe and having the best juvenile justice system in the country. We will continue to support effective programs and services by making important investments in DJJ so Florida remains a safe state for all families and visitors.”
The current report, covering a five-year period, released by DJJ also shows a decrease in certain felony offenses, including a 4 percent decrease in aggravated/assault battery, an 8 percent decrease in weapon/firearm arrests, and a 12 percent decrease in felony drug arrests. Overall misdemeanor offenses decreased by 15 percent last year with an overall decline of 40 percent in the past five years.
Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly said, “By keeping our focus on front end prevention and diversion services, DJJ is working hard to provide the right level of treatment for Florida’s youth while always placing a strong emphasis on holding them accountable and ensuring public safety. DJJ will continue to work side by side with our law enforcement partners and community stakeholders to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system or from going deeper into the system all together.”
The five counties with the largest populations in Florida continue to show decreases in juvenile arrests over the last fiscal year. The county with the largest drop was Miami-Dade County with a 12 percent decrease, followed by Broward County with an 8 percent reduction, Orange County with a 7 percent decrease, Palm Beach County with a 6 percent decrease, and Hillsborough County with a 2 percent decline in juvenile arrests.