Yes, Crime Is Down . . . But For How Long?

Interesting Article . . .

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/05/24/1446000/fbi-says-violent-crime-rate-down.html

My opinion?  That’s good news.  It debunks any theories that economic recessions leads to increased crime rates.  I, for one, haven’t seen a dramatic increase in crime – except for maybe low-level street drugs like heroin – since the recession hit.  Still despite the succesful efforts of law enforcement’s endeavors, we should not be too quick to pat ourselves on the back. In the article, Northeastern University criminology professor James Alan Fox said, “We have increasing numbers of at-risk youth in the population, and they need services. We need to reinvest in crime prevention or else the good news we see today could evaporate.” (emphasis supplied).
True.  These sentiments were also mentioned by Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Snyder in a feature article I wrote for the Whatcom County Bar Association newsletter.  In Burning the Candlestick at Both Ends: Threadbare Judicial resources & Increased Court Litigation Gives Us Opportunity to Influence Change, I interviewed Judge Snyder.  He believes that although the decreased criminal filings trend is a result of the work done in Juvenile Court within the last few years, this positive trend could reverse.
“The Juvenile Justice Center and Probation have made a significant difference in the number of kids brought in on juvenile charges,” said Judge Snyder.  “The reality is, my sense of it, they’re doing really intensive work with the kids and having a lot of success with them while tehy’re still juveniles.  And I think its been going on long enough now that we’ve started seeing the impacts.  Fewer juveniles are graduating to become adult criminals.  they’re charged fewer times and less often.  And the risk we run is that this budget cycle has made it very difficult to maintain those services.  Juvenile court has taken a substantial hit.  If that happens, those gains may be lost very quickly, and we’ll be back with increased filings in a short period of time.”
The bottom line is this: although we have decreased crime rates, this positive trend will cease if we discontinue investing in juvenile courts.  Period.