Juvenile homicides have increased markedly this year, with 33 victims so far in 2006, compared with 20 in the same period last year, reports the Houston Chronicle. In addition, juveniles have been implicated in more homicides, robberies and assaults, according to police.
Several possible reasons are cited for the uptick, including population increases, cuts in funding for prevention programs, and a rise in gang activity. Though the level of violence is far less than in the past–75 juveniles were charged in homicides across Harris County in 1993, for example–several high-profile incidents have focused attention on the issue. “These things run in cycles,” said one expert.