Crime Prevention Priority Area
- 3% reduction in violent crime
- 5% increase in Neighborhood Watch Groups
Juvenile crime increased 10% year over year (fiscal years 2012-2013 to 2013-2014) in Spartanburg County. In the same time period, the number of violent or serious cases increased 4%. The number of status offense cases increased 38% while detention cases decreased 30%.
What is being done?
Through partnerships in the community, juvenile detentions throughout Spartanburg County fell by 30% in FY 2013-2014 compared to the previous period. The City of Spartanburg obtained a grant in October 2014 for $81,000 to enable them to provide services for Juvenile Status Offenders (juveniles who commit offenses that would not be a crime if committed by an adult). Common examples of Juvenile Status Offenses are running away from home, being truant from school, and being beyond parental control. Without intervention, it is common for juvenile status offenders to engage in behavior that results in criminal charges. This grant has the potential to be a three-year grant, depending on funding and performance.
A Success Story
The Youth Empowerment Program was held again in 2015 for the 3rd summer. The program serves 16-18 Juvenile Shoplifters and Status Offenders, ages 12-16, who have committed 1-2 offenses and have completed pre-trial intervention. Administered by members of the Spartanburg City Police Department, the 7-week, all-day program features community service segments, as well as educational segments on bullying prevention, health, agriculture, pregnancy prevention, history, arts and culture, and higher education, often on site. Participants visit sites as diverse as the Soup Kitchen, Cowpens Battlefield, Strawberry Hill, Chapman Cultural Center, and Spartanburg Community College. The recidivism rate is less than 3% for participants over the course of a year.
Here is the text of a letter from a participant:
Dear Officer Boozer,
I would like to thank you for working with me and giving me the opportunity to correct my mistake. Working at the Soup Kitchen really helped me in more than just a way of punishment. I wanted to also thank you for all the good advice you have given me. I know that you do (that) to many others and I hope they are all touched as I was. You do your job very well, and I am glad I got to meet you in my life, may not have been under the best circumstances, but I'm glad I did and it has taught me a lot. Maybe I'll see you one day soon... at the the grocery store or movies. Take care.