Violent Crimes Committed by Youth Surges

Violent Crimes Committed by Youth Surges
Police moniter a crime scene in Orange, Calif., on April 1, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Matthew Lysiak

A sharp rise in acts of violence committed by children across the country has fueled concerns over the state of the nation’s youth.

In Apopka, Florida, an 11-year-old youth football player was arrested on suspicion of shooting and wounding two teammates at practice on Oct. 2. The child allegedly shot two 13-year-olds at a recreation complex after a fight broke out over a bag of chips during a Pop Warner football practice, Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley told reporters.

“What makes an 11-year-old feel a necessity to grab a firearm and end this altercation is beyond me,” he said.

Chief McKinley said both teenage victims suffered injuries, with one treated for a wound to his arm and the other to the torso. The 11-year-old child, who had taken the gun from his mother’s car, was booked into a juvenile assessment center on a preliminary charge of second-degree attempted murder, according to the police chief.

In Flint, Michigan, a teacher was briefly knocked out after one of her students threw a chair in class on Sept. 28. The teacher was discovered by another staffer lying unconscious on the floor. The educator was quickly rushed to the hospital for a head injury and is “doing well,” according to a statement from Southwestern Classical Academy District Superintendent Kevelin Jones.

“I want to emphasize that this act of violence is unacceptable and goes against the values we hold dear in our educational community,” the statement added.

The 15-year-old student who threw the chair faces two counts of felony assault.

Far from isolated incidents, violence among the youth has soared across the country since 2020, with the number of killings committed by children under 14 the highest in two decades, according to the most recent federal data.

'Reinstate Order'

Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig—a 44-year law enforcement veteran who ran youth programs to combat violent crimes in large cities, including Los Angeles, California, and Detroit, Michigan—believes the disturbing trend in youth violence can be attributed to a societal shift away from family, community, and a removal of the disincentives traditionally used to restrain for bad behavior.
 (Courtesy of James Craig)
(Courtesy of James Craig)

“I’ve been absolutely shocked to see how the behavior of kids as young as in middle school has changed over the years,” Mr. Craig told The Epoch Times.

“In my experience, there are a lot of factors, including a lot of these younger children had older siblings who are gang members, or had one parent or both run afoul of the law, were murdered by gang violence, or had bad experiences with the police. Also, it is notable that the majority of these children came out of single-parent homes.”

However, Mr. Craig, who announced his campaign for Michigan's open Senate seat last week, says during his time in law enforcement, the largest change has occurred in the lack of serious repercussions.

“There used to be family structure, consequences for wrongdoing, and discipline, and it doesn’t take much to see how all that has changed,” he said.

“Now ... we live in a world where there are no consequences, and what we see around us today with all the increase in youth violence is the result.”

Mr. Craig says that while the discipline and structure begins at home, law enforcement has contributed to the crisis.

“Look around the country and see a lot of these young people engaging in retail theft at a large scale. It is continuing because they know that in the unlikely circumstance that they get caught, it will just be a slap in the wrist,” he said.

“I’ve had kids telling our officers after being arrested how they weren’t worried about going to jail because they knew they would be back home in a few hours.”

If there is to be any hope for the troubling trend to be reversed, it is going to take parents, communities, and political leaders to come together, according to Mr. Craig.

“It is a lack of will on the part of our role models and politicians,” he said. “Too many on the political left aren’t willing to say what needs to be said and what needs to be done. Meanwhile, politicians continue removing consequences as the crisis facing our kids continues to grow more daunting.

“It is time for us as adults to stand up for our youths and reinstate order before we reach a point of no return.”

Matthew Lysiak is a nationally recognized journalist and author of “Newtown” (Simon and Schuster), “Breakthrough” (Harper Collins), and “The Drudge Revolution.” The story of his family is the subject of the series “Home Before Dark” which premiered April 3 on Apple TV Plus.
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