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Juvenile crime is at a 30-year low in Minnesota

By KBJR News 1

Credit: MGN Online

Juvenile crime is at a 30-year low in Minnesota

March 13, 2014 Updated Mar 15, 2014 at 8:48 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- There is a steady decline of juvenile crime in Minnesota and it is at a 30-year low. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety attributes this drop in crime to new legislation and more funding, as well as shifting economic factors.

"As a whole, juveniles in Minnesota are committing fewer crimes than they did 15 years ago, a welcome trend that we hope continues for years to come," Office of Justice Programs (OJP) director, Raeone Magnuson, said.

A new report highlights multiple factors linked to the rise and fall of juvenile crime in Minnesota and the United States, between 1980 and 2010, including:
-New laws, policies and procedures at the federal and state level.
-Increases in federal and state funding to combat juvenile crime and delinquency.
-Shifting economic factors-poverty, unemployment and the overall strength of the economy.

A report released in September 2013 shows that after a rapid rise in juvenile crime in Minnesota from 1980 into the late 1990s, crime numbers steadily fell to near 30-year lows by 2010:
-1982-1998-the number of juvenile arrests in Minnesota increased from 31,812 to 79,584, an increase of 150 percent.
-1998-2011-the number of arrests declined from 79,584 to 36,192 by 2011, a decrease of 55 percent.

Legislation and Funding:
-1986-1989 - Federal Mandatory Sentencing Minimums established five-year and 10-year prison sentences for certain drug-related offenses. The incarceration of adults contributed to youth moving into more violent criminal roles.
-1986, 1988 - U.S. Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which provides grants to states for the prevention of drug-related crime.

Economy:
-1980s - Challenging economic conditions included inflation as high as 13.6 percent, prime interest rates as high as 18.9 percent and variable U.S. gross domestic product.
-1980s to mid-1990s - U.S. unemployment reached historically high rates (6 to 10 percent); 12 to 15 percent of the U.S. population dipped below the poverty threshold. Unemployment and poverty levels for children and communities of color were especially high.

Ramona Marozas
Rmarozas@kbjr.com