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KIMT News 3 — A new report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows some positive trends. The number of crimes committed by teens in the state is down and nearing 30 year lows.
The Rock is a place in Albert Lea where kids from all over can come to hang out after school.
“We’re dealing with correction of behavior, the way they treat each other, talk about issues at school, issues at home, issues with other kids,” said Rick Miller, City Life Director for The Rock.
Area law enforcement credits places like this for helping keep kids busy and out of trouble.
“The Rock, the YMCA, other youth groups like that are very important in the community. It gives the kids something to do, it gives them a little bit of structure if they’re not getting any within their own home,” said Lt. Darren Hanson of the Albert Lea Police Department.
It just might be making an impact. New numbers from the Department of Public Safety show that juvenile crime rates are near a 30-year low.
That is similar to what’s happening in our area.
“We’re seeing a slight spike in the more serious crimes, the felony level crimes, but we’re seeing a huge decrease in illegal consumption, juvenile drinking type crimes,” Hanson said.
He said organizations like The Rock provide a great way for officers to make positive appearances in young people’s lives.
“We want to be involved with the youth; we don’t want every contact to be a negative contact. We want them to feel comfortable coming up and asking an officer a question or asking for help if they need something,” Hanson said.
Places like The Rock and authorities work hand-in-hand.
“We work directly with the probation department and so when kids get hours through the courts, they can do their hours with us here,” Miller said.
He said it is common for those teens to continue stopping by after they are done serving their hours and Miller said they are more than welcome.
“They see it as a positive thing that they would like to have in their lives that they haven’t had,” Miller said.
Iowa is seeing the same trend as Minnesota. Juvenile arrest rates are also down.
The most recent data from the Department of Human Rights shows a more than 20 percent decrease in juvenile arrests between 2007 and 2010.