Baltimore City council members convened a hearing earlier this week to learn more about how agencies are tackling a surge in auto-thefts and carjackings in the city.
While not the specific stated purpose of the meeting, leaders and agencies focused specifically on discussing the role of youth in those crimes. That meeting included representatives from the Baltimore Police Department, the Department of Juvenile Services, the city’s Department of Transportation and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE).
The state Department of Juvenile Services refers Baltimore City youth to the state’s attorney’s office at twice the rate of anywhere else in Maryland, according to DJS deputy secretary Lisa Garry. The department refers two-thirds of city youth auto-theft arrests to the state’s attorney and 97% of youth carjackings. Of those referrals, about five percent of youth arrested for car-theft ended up in DJS custody while that number was higher for carjackings at around 36%, according to DJS.
For cases that don’t get referred to the state’s attorney, Garry said many of those youth will end up in detention alternatives, like home detention or being referred to a mix of what she described as “evidence-based” services.