Juvenile crimes: Deterring gun violence among youth

These days, it seems that gun violence is constantly making headlines across the country. Gun violence among the juvenile population has increased over the last decade. According to a report released by the FBI, 680 juveniles were killed by acts of gun violence in the United States last year. Fortunately, the state of Illinois has been proactive in combating juvenile crimes in recent years. New legislation, law enforcement efforts and increased public awareness have had positive results.

The city of Springfield in particular has seen a decrease in juvenile shooting deaths. Last year, Springfield police reported only one juvenile shooting fatality. This year, police say there have been no shooting deaths among the juvenile population in Springfield.

The numbers vary in surrounding communities. Champaign had no juvenile shooting deaths last year and only one so far this year. However, Decatur police say the last two years have been busier for them. Reportedly, there were five shooting incidents involving juveniles last year in Decatur, with only one being fatal. This year, there have been two fatal shootings among juveniles in Decatur, according to police reports.

As populations continue to increase across the state of Illinois, it is only natural for crime rates to rise as well. Although progress has been made in deterring crime among the youth in Illinois, juvenile crimes continue to be an ongoing problem. Juveniles who have been charged with crimes have options available to help them. By exercising their right to seek legal counsel, juveniles could ensure protection of personal rights while obtaining much-needed guidance during this difficult time.