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Weapon Offenses by Juveniles Show Big Jump

<i> From Newsday</i>

A new Justice Department study shows nearly one-fourth of the 262,300 people arrested for weapon offenses in 1993 were younger than 18, another indicator of the explosive growth in the rate of juvenile crime in the United States.

The study released Sunday reported an increase of more than 100% in juvenile arrests for weapon offenses in an eight-year period, from just under 30,000 in 1985 to more than 61,000 in 1993. The statistics come as government officials, politicians, police organizations and academics debate ways to combat juvenile crime.

Atty. Gen. Janet Reno announced last week that $8 million in grants would go to six communities, from Boston to Seattle, to test approaches to combat juvenile crime.

“We have to do more,” Reno said, because “if last decade’s trends continue unchecked, juvenile arrests for violent crime will double by the year 2010.”

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The Justice Department report on weapon arrests showed the rate for minors increased from 1985 to 1993 at three times the rate of increase for adults, 100% to 33%. And the figures don’t reflect a federal law enacted in 1994 prohibiting the possession of handguns by anyone younger than 18.


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