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Key Trends in Florida
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(Taken from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice)


Serious & Violent Juvenile Crime

  • Juveniles remain responsible for about one out of four violent crimes in the state.

  • Aggravated assault and battery by juveniles are up.  There were 11,342 referrals for aggravated assault/battery by juveniles in FY 1999-00, a 25% increase over 9, 075 in FY 1994-95. 

  • Florida is able to provide more serious sanctions for juvenile crime.  Currently there are 15,122 placements available for juvenile offenders in need of day treatment or long-term juvenile residential and correctional programs.  That compare to 9,231 placement s available in FY 1994-95.


Female Juvenile Offenders

  • One out of four juvenile offenders in Florida is a girl.  There has been a 67% increase in the number of girls referred for delinquency over the past decade in Florida; delinquency referrals of boys rose 25% in that time period.  The number of girls arrested for violent felonies has more than doubled in the past eight years, from 1,400 in FY 1990-91 to 3,143 in FY 1998-99.


Most Frequent Juvenile Crime

  • Burglary is the felony crime committed most often by juvenile offenders.  There were 16,941 burglary cases involving juvenile offenders in FY 1999-00, an average of 46 per day.


Most Frequent Time of Day for Juvenile Crime

  • Juvenile crime, including violent offenses, peaks at around 3 p.m., generally right after school lets out.


Juvenile Drug Arrests

  • Dramatic increases in youth charged with drug crimes occurred during the 1990s. There was a 229 percent increase over the last decade in juvenile offenders referred for drug use. In recent years, there has been almost a 10 percent increase per year for all types of drug offenses.


Growth in Adolescent Population

  • A 26 percent surge in Florida’s population of 10 to 17-year-olds occurred during the 1990s. The state’s total increase of youth during that decade was 300,000.

  • A 10 percent increase in 10- to 17-year-olds is anticipated from 2000 through 2009 in Florida. The state’s current population of 10- to 17-year-olds is approximately 1.5 million.


Juveniles Tried as Adults

  • The number of juveniles in Florida tried as adults is declining from a peak of 5,350 in FY 1995-96 to 3,297 in FY 1999-00. Florida, the fourth largest state, still tries more juveniles as adults than most states.


Juvenile Repeat Offenders

  • 14 percent of juvenile offenders can be classified as chronic offenders, responsible overall for 42 percent of delinquency referrals and 67 percent of repeat referrals. Chronic offenders typically had six or more delinquency referrals (similar to arrests in the adult system) over a two-year period.

  • Recidivism among juvenile offenders in Florida is down. The percentage of juveniles staying out of trouble for a year after release from a delinquency treatment program has improved from 54 percent in 1996 to 58 percent in 1998.

  • A 4 percent improvement in recidivism (cited above) is worth an estimated $65 million in long-term cost savings. That includes $35 million less spent by law enforcement, the courts, the juvenile justice system and the adult correctional system. It also includes $30 million in projected savings to victims. That is based on juveniles’ typical track record five years after release from a delinquency program.

  • A 4 percent decline in recidivism among delinquents prevents an estimated 131 assaults, 100 burglaries, 77 auto thefts, 34 robberies, 4 rapes and 10 murders over a five-year period.


School Violence and Harmful Behavior

  • There were 14,153 violent acts against persons in the 1998-99 school year in Florida, 3,942 incidents of weapons possession and 21,808 incidents involving alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs.

  • In the Florida Youth Survey 2000, students reported that within the past 12 months, 15 percent had attacked someone with intent to harm; 15 percent were suspended from school; 12 percent were drunk or high at school; 6 percent were arrested; 6 percent sold illegal drugs; 4 percent carried a handgun; 3 percent stole or attempted to steal a vehicle and 1 percent took a handgun to school.


Delinquency Risk Factors and Specialized Needs

  • The high mobility of youth and families in Florida, who frequently change home neighborhoods and schools, is a risk factor that increases delinquency. Many young people don’t feel like they have consistent positive community ties.

  • Juvenile offenders in Florida whose crimes are serious enough to merit placement in residential programs typically come from single-parent households and are truants, dropouts or are doing poorly in school.

  • Three out of four juvenile offenders in delinquency treatment programs admit to problems with alcohol or drug use; 29 percent are emotionally disturbed; 20 percent have a diagnosed serious mental illness; 9 percent are sex offenders and 5 percent have developmental disabilities.

These  statistics only indicate that we have to create local solutions to national trends related to kids.  Uniting together to find new solutions to key risk factors in our kids is essential in every community.


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Revised: August 25, 2002 .