Washington, D.C., Teen Offenders Get More Violent


For teenagers who commit crimes in Washington, D.C., stealing cars is out. Snatching smartphones directly from victims' hands or breaking into their homes is in, says the Washington Post. On average, juveniles were arrested for violent robberies or carjackings at least once a day last year, an almost 50 percent increase from 2007. During the same time, juvenile arrests for riding in stolen cars dropped by more than 60 percent.

The shift is a troubling indicator that the city's youngest offenders are growing more aggressive and confrontational: Last year, teens made up 23 percent of violent crime arrests, more than double the percentge of 2003. “A number of years ago, car theft was off the scale. It was cool to get a car and joy ride,” said Daniel Okonkwo of DC Lawyers for Youth. “Now it's an iPhone4, an iPod. Things you can't afford when you don't have money.”

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