In the past few weeks the news has been filled with stories about crime. It seems like no part of the country has escaped the recent epidemic. Gainesville, FL, Memphis, TN, and Athens, GA, have all reported a recent rise in robberies, along with many other cities. Some cities have seen a rise in violent crimes and murders. Orlando, FL, is only three murders away from reaching it's all-time year high, and Washington, DC, declared a crime emergency earlier this month after 14 people were murdered in just two weeks.
But unlike the crime wave in the 1990s that was blamed on crack cocaine, police in some cities are saying this increase is being caused by teenagers. Police districts across the country are reporting higher rates of juvenile crime than usual. An article in USA Today found that in Minneapolis, MN, more than 60 percent of the suspects in violent crimes were juveniles, and, in Boston, MA, 54 percent of people arrested for robbery are minors. Washington, DC, is blaming its upsurge in crime on juveniles too, and today marks the first day of a new citywide curfew. All young people must now be off the streets by 10 p.m.
In addition to local efforts, a national summit will be held later this summer to discuss the problem and to decide how best to deal with it.
"Many cities are facing things they haven't confronted in five or 10 years," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which is hosting the meeting. "The purpose of this (summit) is not to scare anyone. But there are signs that things are changing. We don't want to go back to the 1990s when things were out of control."
The summit will be held on August 30 in Washington, DC.