Pinellas Teen Auto Theft
Pinellas County, Florida has a teen auto theft problem that has been called an “epidemic.” While Pinellas has led the nation in number of juvenile auto theft arrests – outpacing larger counties like Los Angeles, California – the problem also is on the increase throughout Florida.
The Caruthers Institute is conducting a solutions-driven study that will combine national best practices with local knowledge gained from law enforcement, community leaders, and Pinellas youth who’ve been involved in thefts. The study will be followed by a series of convenings for local leaders to adopt solutions.
The short-term goal is to reduce the number of teen auto thefts, while the long-term goal is to address root causes of repeat auto theft with a focus on the public policies and system practices that influence youth behaviors, across education, social welfare, juvenile and criminal justice.
The study and convenings will emphasize data-supported public health approaches to bringing change to how the problem is viewed and addressed.
CLICK to read the study announcement news release.
SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times
Community needs to come together for solutions
“One of the things that really stuck out to me was the need for the community to come together for solutions.”
Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly
Need for national experts and best practices
“We look forward to hearing from national experts as well as our Florida stakeholders as we examine best practices moving forward.”
Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice statement
Broader reasons Pinellas stands out in state
“But there have to be broader reasons that Pinellas stands out among other counties for car thefts by juveniles, and tougher punishment on the back end is not the ultimate answer in most cases. Reducing care thefts by kids means more difficult, long-term work on the front-end.”
Editorial: Tampa Bay Times
A ticking time-bomb
“It’s only a miracle that more innocent folks haven’t died so far. But I think it’s still a ticking time bomb.”
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch
How have more not been killed, injured?
“How we haven’t had more people run over, injured, killed, just walking down the street, small kids, I have no idea.”
St. Petersburg Detective Tim Brown
Lives not lost in vain
“It’s my full intent to not let those three lives lost in that horrific crash two months ago down in vain.”
State Sen. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg
Juvenile auto thefts a statewide problem
“Juvenile auto arrests in Florida increased from 2,307 in 2015 to 2,810 last year (2016)”
Tampa Bay Times
Pinellas leads the nation in juvenile auto thefts
“In 2015, police in Pinellas made nearly 500 arrests for juvenile auto theft, more than any other county in Florida going back eight years, and more than the most populous counties in America, including Los Angeles”
Tampa Bay Times
BY THE NUMBERS
SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times (August 2017)
Average of more than one youth auto theft per day in Pinellas County
At least every four days there is a car crash from a teen auto theft
Number of Pinellas teens that have died in incidents involving stolen cars (in last two years)
In the August SUV crash that killed 3 boys, collectively, the 6 boys had been arrested 126 times and been to Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center 43 times
Number of juveniles in Pinellas arrested for auto theft (60 more than any other county in Florida)
Estimated number of juveniles statewide to be affected by new “Prolific Juvenile Offender” law