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The publics fear of crime including juvenile crime is a major concern for policymakers In California and throughout the nation nightly news programs often begin their broadcasts with accounts of violent crime committed by juveniles The Legislature and the Governor have enacted numerous laws to address the publics concerns about juvenile crime Despite these efforts polls show that the public continues to see crime as one of the most pressing problems in society In January 1994 we released our report Crime in California describing overall crime trends in the state This report while similar focuses on juvenile crime trends andthe juvenile justice system in California Difference Between the Juvenile and Adult Justice Systems Californias juvenile justice system is different from the states adult justice system This is because society recognizes that many juveniles need to be treated differently from adults Generally the juvenile system emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation while the adult system concentrates on punishment of offenders The juvenile justice system also consists of a large number of nonlaw enforcement agencies Social services agencies schools and community-based organizations all provide services to both juveniles at-risk of committing crimes and to juveniles who have committed crimes The State of Juvenile Crime in California Juvenile crime peaked in California in 1974 and then decreased through 1987 This decrease occurred at the same time as the proportion of juveniles in Californias population was declining Juvenile crime has increased since 1987 It is likely that juvenile crime will continue to increase given the projected future increase in Californias juvenile population In order to address this growth in crime policymakers will have to pursue multiple strategies including prevention intervention suppression and incarceration efforts Contents of This Report We have prepared this report in an effort to help those concerned with addressing the problems of juvenile crime This report is not designed to present comprehensive answers to all
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