Like many other cities across the United States, Houston saw an uptick in crime in 2020. It’s in response to the challenges we all faced. Unfortunately, 2021 picks up where last year left off with a disturbing new wrinkle where at least ten Houston-area teenagers were killed in gun violence. It is the highest number in five years. Moreover, officials point out that the shootings also occurred in Harris County and beyond.
Reckless behavior one cause
While the murder rates are up, law enforcement also points out instances where the shootings were accidental. In one instance, a boy playing with a gun shot his 16-year-old friend in the head.
Steps taken to change course
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has been proactive in raising awareness of gun violence among teenagers. City officials have similarly tried to address the issue by introducing the “Is It Worth It?” campaign. There is also a new road rage task force that is a partnership between HPD, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Public Safety. The goal here is to arrest those engaging in dangerous behavior when it’s warranted. Suspects’ vehicles may be seized if the law allows it.
It’s a group effort
Acevedo has also called upon the governor to prompt the state to handle all calls involving state highways, thus freeing up municipal officers to be more engaged in their local communities. Many District Attorneys here and around the country are also engaged in reevaluating how they will prosecute crimes, particularly as it relates to minors. It’s proactive changes like these that positively impact the lives of teens and their families.
Teens often engage in risky and defiant behavior. Many behavioral and law experts point out that a punitive approach to these actions could hinder their social, neurological and emotional growth and often causes more harm than good.
A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help protect teens’ and young adults’ rights even as they face unprecedented risks and mortal danger here in 2021. It’s one way to help turn around the troubling trends we’ve seen since 2020.