The New York Police Department is starting programs to prevent youth crime, including youth-coordination officers in each precinct and a new computerized tracking and reporting system on crime, the Wall Street Journal reports. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the programs are a new strategy for the department in response to an increase in 2019 in violent crimes involving young people. Shea said NYPD can do a better job of preventing teens from becoming involved in criminal activity, even as overall crime remains at a historic low. “What we have to do is organize and focus all of these resources so that a troubled kid doesn’t go from 12 years old to 18 years old without us ever intervening in a life going wrong,” Shea said.
The focus on youth crimes comes after officials identified three teen suspects in the murder of Tessa Majors, a Barnard College student killed in December. Officials said teenage suspects were a driver in an increase in robberies in the city in 2019. More than 300 new youth coordination officers will be assigned to the department’s 77 precincts. The new officers will be follow individual cases of juvenile delinquency in an effort to rehabilitate young people involved in crimes. The officers will also coordinate with other city agencies and local community-service groups on broader efforts to promote positive behaviors. NYPD will enlist 5,500 school safety agents assigned to public schools in strategy meetings to enhance information sharing and connect youth to resources such as counseling.