Orange County leads Florida in decline of juvenile arrests, report says


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As juvenile arrests in Florida hit a 43-year low, Orange County witnessed the state's largest reduction in the last year, according to a report from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice released earlier this week.

The report found that Florida saw an 8 percent drop in juvenile arrests and a 10 percent decline in felony juvenile arrests since fiscal year 2017. Overall, it's the second consecutive fiscal year in which juvenile arrest figures have taken a tumble statewide, with counties such as Orange, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough leading the way as they push for civil citations, diversion programs and other initiatives to help cope with juvenile crime.

In that same time, Orange County saw the Sunshine State's most significant decline, with juvenile arrests dipping by a dramatic 19 percent since last year, and more than 30 percent over the past two years. It's a success that could be credited in large part to local programs such as "Project No/No," a juvenile justice policy reform that helps provide juvenile offenders who haven't been arrested a second chance with a clean record, versus being saddled with a criminal court record as part of the police report inquiry.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County saw a 16 percent drop since last year.

"The decreases we are seeing in juvenile arrests are due to the collaborative efforts of our dedicated DJJ staff, law enforcement partners and community stakeholders," says DJJ Interim Secretary Timothy Niermann in a news release. "Helping young people turn around their lives for the better is what we all strive for every day, and we remain focused on investing in our youth and helping them achieve a brighter future."

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