DENVER (KDVR) — Violent crime has grown since the pandemic, and signs continue to point to young offenders committing more crimes.
The Colorado Division of Youth Services is tracking an uptick in youth crime in its annual report, violent crime in particular, over the last fiscal year. This comes after a steady track record of improving youth crime numbers now interrupted by the pandemic.
Between 2018 and 2021, the number of juvenile arrests had gone down by 60%. Between fiscal years 2021 and 2022 however, the statewide number of juvenile arrests grew by 15.4% from 4,753 to 5,484.
Crime is concentrated more among youths in their late teens. The average age of committed youths, those involved in some kind of custodial care, is 17 years old. The committed population is 31.4% white, 25.6% Black and 37.9% Hispanic.
The division’s youth services appear to be paying off in regard to repeat juvenile offenders. According to the report, recidivism rates among juveniles are at the lowest rates seen since 2013.
The report details the juveniles discharged in 2019-20, of those, 22.1% had landed back in law enforcement’s hands. The year before, it was 30.6%. In 2017-18, the rate was 41.1%.
Most of the offenders require some kind of behavioral care. According to the report, 84% need mental health services and 78% need some kind of substance abuse treatment.