Spike in Juvenile Crimes


Prosecutors say they've never seen so many young people come into the court system over a single weekend. By one prosecutor's count, there were 20 people under the age of 18 that were in custody Wednesday.

The majority of those youngsters are currently housed at the Douglas County Youth Center.

Some experts who disagree with a proposed bill that would take away the discretion and make everyone under 17 be tried as a juvenile unless it's the most serious of crimes, point to this as an example of the current system working.

A carjacking over the weekend involved five teens. Omaha's police helicopter helped track down four youngsters believed to be involved in an armed carjacking Friday night.

The suspects are young. Two are 13-years-old and two are 12-years-old.

Investigators say they stole an SUV on Friday night near 30th and Sorensen Parkway. The victim followed them and later told WOWT 6 News that one of them pulled a gun on him.

“I said ‘hey, ya'll stole my daughter's car.’ I hate to see them out here doing this, when they can get a job.”

According to court records the suspected ringleader is 13-year-old Dontavious Swift. He's facing possession of a stolen firearm; theft by receiving; obstructing an officer and marijuana possession.

WOWT 6 News also uncovered that Swift had been wearing an ankle bracelet since last year for marijuana charges. Court records indicate he cut off the electronic monitoring device two weeks ago. Law enforcement was on the hunt.

Court records also show that this year and last school year, Dontavious Swift has been declared a truant for not attending McMillan Magnet School.

He's being tried in juvenile court, which is about rehabilitation, not punishment.


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