Thursday, October 18, 2012

Teen crime in Shreveport trending downward, says Judge Matlock in KTBS report

Teen crime in Caddo Parish just isn't what it used to be, says KTBS News.

Chief Judge David Matlock says the number of teens entering the Caddo Juvenile Court System has lowered. He says major juvenile crimes saw a 25 percent decrease from 2001 to 2011. Matlock says years worth of effort from local government and communities has led to the decrease.

"It's taken a lot of leadership, a lot of teamwork, a lot of hard programming," Matlock said.

The juvenile justice system has 126 rehabilitation programs used to get kids into check. Matlock says each child is assessed and appointed to one that best suits their needs. The goal is to aggressively attack their problems early.

"So, when we see a child with a reasonably serious situation coming in at a fairly young age, that's a red flag for us to get involved," he said.

Matlock says truancies, which have lowered in Caddo Parish, are a major sign of a future problem. Those kids entering the parish's rehabilitation programs may face good odds. Matlock claims high success rates.

"80 percent success rates with a lot of these early intervention and mid-intervention programs, and those are extremely good success rates," he said.

To give you an idea of the decrease, Matlock says juvenile detention admissions are down 40 percent. Auto theft cases are down 88 percent, that's from 1994 to 2011.

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