Combating teen crime and gangs in North Carolina has attracted the attention of legislators, policymakers, and a governor. Now there's evidence that their solutions are working, reports the Raleigh News & Observer. While overall violent crimes have declined by nearly 14 percent since 2002, the number of teens under 16 charged with violent crimes has dropped nearly 37 percent. Juvenile crime is down nationally, but in North Carolina the downward trend is more than double the national average. That has prompted some to call the state a model for dealing with juvenile delinquency and youth crime prevention.
By emphasizing “state-of-the-art approaches to prevention, intervention, treatment, and education” for troubled youth, “North Carolina has developed a national model worth emulating,” said Harvey Milkman, a professor of psychology at Metropolitan State University in Denver. The state is now locking up far fewer teens than it did a decade ago, finding treatment alternatives to its former system of training schools. James “Buddy” Howell of the National Gang Center in Tallahassee helped design North Carolina’s approach uses. He calls the state’s reduction of young people in youth detention centers as “a remarkable achievement.”