Sgt. Moss: Kids need someone to look up to as youth crime rises
Aug 30, 2023, 3:33 PM | Updated: 4:49 pm
(Photo from Seattle Police)
A judge this week refused to release two 15-year-old boys to their families as they face charges in the shooting of a Tacoma Police Department detective.
In addition, KIRO 7 noted in a story published Wednesday three crashes involving teenagers in stolen cars have occurred in less than two days in Western Washington.
These developments come as law enforcement officials across Western Washington are seeing an increase in violent crime committed by teenagers.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Sergeant Darren Moss said on the “Gee & Ursula Show” Tuesday that while he doesn’t keep statistics, there has been a noticeable uptick in crime committed by those under 20.
“A lot of the really, really bad stuff you see on the news is all teenagers and young adults, and that is super concerning,” Moss said. “Aggravated assaults, armed robbery, burglars where they break into the business with a stolen vehicle and then steal another vehicle to get away, when we find these people they are all juvenile offenders.”
More crime news: Stolen car with teens inside crashes, catches fire in SODO
While there is research showing young offenders who are sent home to their families instead of detention centers are less likely to re-offend. Moss said that these kids may be getting the message that there are no consequences for their actions, tempting them to commit more crimes until it’s too late.
“By the time these young people are held accountable, these kids are being locked up as adults because they are committing a very serious felony, or they are getting shot and killed,” Moss said. “Right now the message being sent is that if you are 14, 15, 16 you won’t get locked up. I think that there are criminals that are adults that are having kids commit crimes because they aren’t going to be punished as severely.”
A lack of legal consequences may be fueling a recent rash of violent crimes committed by teenagers.
Other explanations vary Moss said, from lower school attendance rates, the on-going effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or local policy.
“I think there’s a lot of things that have happened with COVID-19, people talk about kids having trauma from COVID, from not going to school for a year, for being in houses where there’s domestic violence or something,” Moss said. “But we have lots of kids that have that same trauma in other areas of our county that aren’t going out and committing these crimes. ”
The solution, according to Moss is for the community to step up and start providing guidance, as well as consequences, for these kids that are committing these crimes.
“We need everybody in the community, not just law enforcement to make it better,” Moss said. “Because these kids need something to do. They need someone to look up to. And they also need to be held accountable for the bad things that they’re doing and be taught the right way to go about living their lives.”
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.