The structure and supervision that school provides is invaluable during the teenage years. As many Washington schools transitioned to remote learning in 2020, teenagers lost access to that in-person support system. Some authorities speculate that this lack of support has translated into a rise in teenage crime.
Carjacking is on the rise
There were 345 carjackings in Washington in 2020, compared with only 142 in 2019. With a total of 46 carjackings in January and February, experts expect 2021 to be even worse. While adults are certainly the culprits in many carjackings, the Police Executive Research Forum — PERF — found that school-aged children with lots of free time are responsible for a significant portion of the rise in carjackings.
The problem goes beyond having too much free time, though. Virtual supervision through phones and computers might be readily available, but is simply not as effective as in-person supervision that comes with a wider breadth of support. Many teens have also lost access to in-person counseling programs. Those who do not have access to virtual school or classes report feeling:
Making bad decisions is a part of growing up. Unfortunately, those who are accused of committing teenage crime often have to face more severe consequences. It can be tempting to think that one mistake will define the rest of someone’s life, but it does not have to be this way. Giving Washington teens the right support both during and after the criminal process can be key to helping them secure a better future.