If your child is involved in a juvenile offense, it is best to contact an Ottawa County defense attorney to handle your case, since juvenile crimes can affect a child’s ability to attend college or get a job. Parents can worry less now that studies and reports on juvenile crime in Grand Rapids show that rates of crime have been dropping since 2006.
The Grand Rapids Juvenile Offense Index Report found that in 2006, most offenses committed by youth between the ages of 8 and 16 in Grand Rapids are not criminal offenses. This report found that 58% of juveniles were involved in runaway situations, curfew violations, or domestic violence investigations. Lynn Heemstra, Office of Children, Youth, & Families administrator, says that “this report challenges local perceptions of our youth” as “violent” or “criminal” as depicted by the media. Five years later, a study conducted by the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy (GRIID) found that juveniles were portrayed in stories as mostly “negative” or violent. This may be because youth are often associated with gangs in the Grand Rapids area.
Another report released in 2010 by Our Community’s Children, a joint office of the City of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids public schools, shows that juvenile crime and contact with law enforcement has dropped since 2006. The report includes many “encouraging” statistics, says Lynn Heemstra, including the following:
1. In the period of time between 2006 and 2009, the number juveniles 16 years of age and younger having contact with police dropped from 1,692 to 1,364 – a 19 percent decrease.
2. Juvenile offenses occur most often after school to mid-evening.
3. According to 2000 Census numbers, only 3 percent of children have had contact with law enforcement.
4. Domestic cases and minor violations comprised 57 percent of recorded offenses.
5. Arrests were most frequently made for disorderly conduct, retail fraud, and assaults, rather than for criminal reasons.
Heemstra was optimistic about these figures, saying that “it gives us a baseline to look at what we’re doing right and what we can continue to do.”
Although the decrease in juvenile crime in Grand Rapids over the years looks promising, if your child is facing juvenile charges, do not hesitate to contact a juvenile defense lawyer to protect the rights of your child. You will want to work with a lawyer who understands how to represent juveniles in an Ottawa County court. The juvenile system can be confusing to navigate, so be sure to contact a juvenile defense lawyer who is devoted to working towards the best possible future for you and your child.