How Utah Has Been Able to Prevent Some Juvenile Crime


As a condition of keeping her construction job with YouthWorks, an intervention program for at-risk teens, Admanda, 15, or Salt Lake City, is learning to look at things differently, reports the Deseret News. If considering attending a party, she says, “”I’d ask if there was going to be drugs and alcohol. And I’d see who was going and if they were people I should be hanging out with.”

Over the last 20 years, the crime rate among 10 to 17 year olds in Utah has dropped from more than 6 percent to less than 1 percent. While the more-or-less consistent downward trend can be attributed in part to fluctuation in the teen population, experts say it may also reflect progress in the state’s approach to the prevention of and punishment for juvenile delinquency. The Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services says YouthWorks is one of many programs, both state and community sponsored, that are dedicated to prevention. The downward crime trend is not pure chance, said Rob Butters of the University of Utah. “We’re better prepared to address these problems than we ever have been.”

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