Juvenile crime report shows bigger drops in Palm Beach County than statewide

Posted 11/29/20

State officials this past week documented continuing drops in statewide numbers of juvenile crime arrests...

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Juvenile crime report shows bigger drops in Palm Beach County than statewide

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PALM BEACH COUNTY — State officials this past week documented continuing drops in statewide numbers of juvenile crime arrests with a new statistical study. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s website provides tools, also, to let anyone take a glimpse into local juvenile crime rates — and they reveal there were even sharper declines in Palm Beach County.

The DJJ’s “Delinquency Profile 2020” report, releasedNov. 23, provides data from the federal Juvenile Justice Information System, and on its “Dashboard” provides myriad ways to break down the data in various search categories to see them in more detail.

The statewide numbers show a decline in overall juvenile arrests during fiscal year 2019-20 of 17%, and a 16% drop in felony juvenile arrests. Palm Beach County’s statistics reflect those declines but, in 2019-20, exceeded the state’s improvements in its rate by eight points, showing an overall decline of 25% from the 2018-19 rate.

Going back over the previous five-year period: In fiscal 2015-16, there were 3,622 overall juvenile arrests, with the county’s rate having held steady from the prior year, and then arrests began declining annually except for one year. In 2016-17, it dropped by 3%; 2017-18 saw a 2% increase in overall juvenile arrests; and in 2018-19, it fell 6% before this past fiscal year’s surprising 25% decline, to 2,643 arrests.

Felony arrests of juveniles in Palm Beach County, meanwhile, also fell substantially in fiscal 2019-20 from the previous year, to 1,190 from 1,556, or by 24%. In fiscal 2015-16, there were 1,414 felony arrests of juvenile subjects. The numbers rose for the next two years in a row, by 8% in 2016-17 and another 5% in 2017-18. Last fiscal year, such arrests fell slightly from 1,595 to 1,556, or 2%.

A spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office pointed out that the PBSO would love to take credit for some of those declines but also that Palm Beach is a huge county that takes in nearly 40 municipalities, most of which have their own police agencies. The sheriff’s office does cover several municipalities in the county that do not have their own police forces, including Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay on the county’s “other coast.”

Statistics in this statewide report, however, are not broken down further than by entire county; the PBSO spokesman further pointed out that the sheriff’s office itself has 20 districts and/or substations.

juvenile, crime, arrest, DJJ, decline

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