Juvenile Justice Center hopes to change teen crime trend through families

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Crimes committed by teenagers in Davidson County is up this year.

At this time last year, juveniles were charged with more than 390 serious crimes. So far this year, that number has increased to nearly 530.

Magistrate Jennifer Wade with the Juvenile Justice Center told News 2 it is extremely concerning that the number of violent crimes committed by teens has increased.

“There is a gap and perhaps a growing gap in those that are flourishing and doing well in our city, and those who are coming more to the attention of the court and the social services of our city as well,” said Wade.

In 2016, 14 juveniles faced 21 murder charges and from January 1, 2016 to June 1, 2016, six teens faced nine murder charges.

For the same time period in 2017, 10 juveniles face 13 murder charges.

From January 1, 2016 to June 1, 2016, 26 teens were charged with 39 counts of aggravated robbery. During the same time period this year, 53 teens face 97 aggravated robbery charges.

Juvenile Justice Center workers said they hope to be a resource for families and help change the concerning trend.

Saturday, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, the center is offering a program called “Parent University.”

“We really have such a robust list of topics for parents. From navigating social media issues with your kids, to dealing with substance abuse issues,” explained Kathryn Sinback, a juvenile court administrator.

So far, 100 parents have signed up for “Parent University,” including grandmother Bobbie McLawrine.

McLawrine now has legal custody of her grandchildren. Her youngest is three and her oldest is a teenager.

She told News 2 she is doing everything she can to help give them a better life.

“Show them how to prepare for life, do the best you can and get them through school,” said McLawrine.

At the event, parents and guardians will have the opportunity to learn strong parenting techniques related to a number of topics.

“Everywhere we go, that is what we hear, is that parents need more support, they need more information and understanding. Parents are dealing with a lot now these days and almost all the parents we talk to really want to have those tools to manage their children’s behavior to help them be successful in school,” said Sinback.

“What we have to do is serve whole families and we have to make sure that family is benefited by the services we have and not just the child,” added Magistrate Wade.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Juvenile Justice Center in Nashville.

The event is free and it’s open to any parent or parental figure. Breakfast and lunch will be served and there is also a kid zone for children to play.