Officials concerned over growing number of youth-related violent crimes
BATON ROUGE - The growing number of teens involved in violent crimes around the capital region has local law enforcement officials concerned.
“We're seeing an eroding of community, family, neighborhood and I think this is a result of it,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Tuesday night Baton Rouge Police arrested a 17-year-old on a murder charge related to the shooting of 19-year-old Charvon Johnson in December. Last week a 15-year-old was arrested, accused of killing 35-year-old Marshall Larks. Moore says these crimes are worrisome.
“It used to be that you saw kids committing burglaries and that was really the bulk of what we had. Now, we often see young kids with weapons. It’s not just burglaries, it’s drugs, weapons and killings," said Moore.
The crime is happening days before a new law is going to raise the age of who is considered a juvenile in the court system. In the past, 17-year-olds were considered adults, going through adult court. On March 1, 17-year-olds will go through the juvenile court instead. This means the Juvenile Detection Center could be seeing more violent cases heading their way.
“We do see a decent number of kids who commit violent offenses between the age of 17 and 18 that were considered adults, that will now be considered children,” said Moore. “You may have more violent offenders [housed]with less violent offenders.”
Some cases could be transferred to adult court, but will originally go to the Juvenile Detention Center. Moore admits he doesn't think the state or the parish is prepared for this change.
“Are we going to get better treatment, and give better treatment to people of that age or not. I don't think we've taken the steps to do that,” said Moore.
It’s a concern as more teens are finding themselves involved in life changing crime.
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