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Editorial: Juvenile crime stats are encouraging

On the front page of this week’s issue of the Star Gazette, you’ll see some great news. Juvenile crime numbers across the county dropped significantly in 2013.

The number of juvenile offenders from Hastings who were charged by the county dropped about 40 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. There were 97 juveniles charged in 2012 and there were 69 charged in 2013.

While we can’t definitively point to any one thing that led to the decline, we still want to celebrate it. In reality, there probably isn’t one big factor that led to the decline — rather, it’s likely that there are a great number of small programs and factors that have led to the decline.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said he’s “proud of the great work being done in our schools, law enforcement and community organizations and partnerships” that have been developed to address the issues facing today’s youths.

Among the programs that the county participates in is the Peer Court program, which has teens serve as jurors. They become personally involved in resolving the problem of juvenile crime in their communities, and we’re certain programs like this go a long way in making strong impressions on our youths.

A number of crime prevention and early intervention programs are also apparently helping.

We are thrilled this week to report the good news, and we thank anyone and everyone who has had a role in reducing juvenile crimes in Hastings.