Juvenile arrests decrease, cops find

Published 12:03 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Arrests of juvenile offenders have declined nearly 20 percent so far this year, according to youth crime stats compiled by the Vicksburg Police Department.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, police recorded 323 misdemeanor and felony arrests of those younger than 18, down from the 403 logged inside the city during the same time last year. The figure is off the pace of the 663 youth arrests recorded during 2009, though still ahead of the previous two years.

Police this week credited the six-week summer basketball program started again this summer with the help of federal grant money. Arrests for June and July alone were cut from 104 last year to 60 this year, VPD deputy chief John Dolan said.

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“We think it’s a great program,” Dolan said adding the sentiment was shared by Warren County Youth Court Administrator Rachel Hardy. “There’s no doubt in her mind it made a tremendous difference in the number of children who came through youth court this summer,” Dolan said.

About 500 youths attended the four-day-a-week pickup games at the Warren Central and Vicksburg Junior High gymnasiums, funded in part by a $1.46 million Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative grant awarded to the Vicksburg Warren School District. About $9,500 was marked for the local basketball program.

Paperwork has been sent by the city Planning Department to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to reimburse the full cost to the city for providing two police officers and snacks and drinks to those who participated, Dolan said.