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Report: Youth Crime Drops in Santa Clara County

Youth crime is at an all-time low at the statewide level, according to a new study.

Youth arrest rates in Santa Clara County are on the decline, matching a statewide trend that shows youth crime in California has plummeted to an all-time low this year.

The downturn is documented in a new report from the California Sentencing Institute (CASI). The report includes data and interactive maps about rates of both adult and juvenile arrests and incarcerations from each of California's 58 counties.

The latest data for 2011 from the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center show arrests of youths under age 18 fell by 20 percent in California from 2010 to 2011, reaching their lowest level since statewide statistics were first compiled in 1954.

In Santa Clara County, the number of youth arrested fell by almost 13 percent between 2009 and 2010. Incarceration rates have risen slightly from 2009 to 2010 from 144 incarcerations per 1,000 youth arrests up to 148, the report showed.

Some of the factors are policy shifts. A statewide marijuana reform law, introduced by Marin's state Senator Mark Leno, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, reducing most simple marijuana possessions to an infraction involving a mere citation rather than criminal arrest. That reform reduced youth marijuana possession arrests by 61 percent statewide in one year, from nearly 15,000 in 2010 to 5,800 in 2011.

Here are the annual bookings and average daily population at Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall for the past three years:

YEAR

Juvenile Hall
bookings per 100,000

Juvenile Hall
Incarcration Rates per 1,000 youth arrests 

2009

1,481 

144

2010

1,314

148

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