Renton juvenile crime skyrocketing, one tactic up 900%, says chief

Mar 21, 2024, 7:01 PM

Image: A Renton Police Department vehicle....

A Renton Police Department vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Renton Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of Renton Police Department)

Juvenile crime is skyrocketing in Renton.

“There’s no other way to put it, but what we are seeing is more and more juveniles involved in violent and property crimes. In some cases, rates are doubling and tripling year over year,” Renton Police Chief Jon Schuldt said in an X post on Wednesday.

It’s a stark message about the current juvenile crime problem in Renton and the trend appears to be getting worse.

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The chief’s message was posted the day after two 15-year-olds were arrested for driving a stolen car and carrying a loaded handgun.

Stark numbers show rise in juvenile crime in Renton

The numbers are startling. From 2022 to 2023 juvenile assaults were up 40%, stolen vehicles were up 342% and armed robberies of gas stations were up 900% for the twelve month period.

“If it’s allowed to continue, we’ll start losing businesses and then we won’t get the sales tax revenue that we need to hire police officers,” Former Renton City Council member Randy Corman said.

Corman, now retired, served on the Renton City Council for 28 years. He’s the longest serving council member in Renton history.

He cites two things: a lack of consequences for young offenders and too few police officers to handle the growing number of juvenile cases.

“We’ve had a great deal of building permit activity, a building boom and when that’s happened, we have doubled the size of our building department. Here we have crime, which has doubled and we have not doubled the size of our police department,” Corman said.

Corman also said he’s not being critical of Renton police. He said it’s an unfortunate reality facing most police departments around the state and the country.

“We’re falling behind in accountability. We’re not able to hold perpetrators of crimes, big and small, accountable the way we used to and as a result, I think it created a little bit more of an open season,” Corman said.

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Schuldt seemed to agree.

“As a society, we must figure out how to curb this trend. Our young people need help and guidance, and they need to be held accountable for their actions. They realize there aren’t any meaningful consequences, and there’s no deterrence,” Schuldt said.

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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