justice from the frontlines: Nov. 5, 2023

Juvenile carjacking surge results in tragedy

Vernard Toney Jr., a 13-year-old child who was shot and killed during an attempted carjacking, had been charged with nine previous carjacking and robbery offenses in a five-week period in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. This episode demonstrates the difficulties officials confront in striking a balance between the city’s growing rate of violent juvenile crime and carjackings and juvenile rehabilitation. The Washington Post (Oct. 30, 2023)

Baltimore crime stats vs. safety perception

Although homicide and shooting figures are heading downward, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott asserts that persistent reports of violent crimes, including shootings and robberies, make some citizens feel unsafe in the city. Even while the numbers indicate progress, many locals still have concerns about their sense of safety. ABC 7 News (Oct. 29, 2023)

Parents charged with conspiracy in Baltimore school shooting

The parents of a 15-year-old who was involved in a shooting outside a high school in Baltimore are accused of assault and conspiracy as involvement in the incident. Following their recuperation, the two 15-year-olds who were hurt in the event will face attempted murder charges. Preliminary hearings for both parents are set for November 29. The Baltimore Banner (Oct. 30, 2023)

Preventing the Montgomery County juvenile crime pipeline

When talking about how to deal with juvenile delinquency, Montgomery County officials emphasized the need for resources and interventions to stop the school-to-prison pipeline. While there was a downward trend in juvenile arrests from 2013 to 2021, they expressed worries about recurring instances involving the same young people. They also underlined the possibility of state-level legislation changes during the 2024 General Assembly session. DC News Now (Oct. 31, 2023)

D.C. youth center clash

After trying to break out of their cell block to fight with youths from another block, five minors at a D.C. youth center in Northeast Washington were taken into custody and charged with assaulting a police officer. Robbery charges were also brought against one of the suspects, and the facility is evaluating its procedures to avoid future occurrences of this kind. The Washington Post (Oct. 31, 2023) 

Second chance at degrees in Maryland

Bowie State University in Maryland is offering a bachelor’s degree program at a correctional facility, becoming the first historically Black university in the state to do so. The program aims to provide incarcerated individuals with educational opportunities, with students expressing a desire for more resources, face time with professors, and the ability to transfer credits to another school after their release. The Baltimore Banner (Oct. 26, 2023)

AirTags offered in D.C. amid rise in carjackings

Mayor Muriel Bowser of D.C. has started a program that provides people in high-auto theft neighborhoods with free Apple AirTags. Residents can share the position of the tags with law enforcement, even though the police won’t be able to access them when they are distributed at events and installed with assistance from the police. This program is a component of a larger strategy to address the city’s escalating auto theft rate. DCist (Nov. 1, 2023)

in other news

Missed red flags in reservist’s mass shooting. Despite a statewide awareness alert, Maine police were notified of “veiled threats” made by U.S. Army reservist Robert Card, but were unable to track him down. Card killed eighteen people in a mass shooting that he carried out later. His story highlights how warning signs about his mental health and threats he made were overlooked, which begs the question of whether preventive measures would have been possible. The Portland Press Herald (Oct. 28, 2023)

Denver’s shooting solutions. Denver has implemented the Firearm Assault Shoot Team (FAST), a specialized unit to investigate nonfatal shootings with a strong focus on accountability and justice. FAST’s approach has significantly increased clearance rates for nonfatal shootings, prompting other cities to take notice of this successful model. The impact on overall crime rates is still uncertain, but the value of accountability and community desire for justice are emphasized. The Marshall Project (Oct. 30, 2023)

Downtown Indy’s reassuring guardian. Scott Person, a Safety Ambassador in downtown Indianapolis, is tasked with providing a reassuring presence to commuters, tourists, and residents. His role involves greeting people, offering directions, and being a calming influence to combat the perception of crime and disorder in the city, even though crime statistics show a decrease in various categories over the past year. The Washington Post (Nov. 1, 2023)

community board

  • Read | Analysis: Public Perceptions on Race, Religion, and Public Safety
  • Read | Publication: D.C. Voices: Juvenile Justice
  • Read | Research: Advancing the Use of Data in Prosecution
  • Read | Opinion: America Should Embrace Prison Returnees to Our Communities
  • Read | Insider: Prison Is a Dangerous Place for LGBTQ+ People

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Research and Reporting Intern