Arlington police made 75% fewer arrests of juvenile suspects during the recently-concluded school year compared to the last pre-pandemic school year.
That’s according to data supplied by the Arlington County Police Department, at ARLnow’s request. Arrests of adult suspects also declined, but only by 16%.
The data covers arrests between Sept. 1, 2018-June 15, 2019, compared to the same time period in 2021 and 2022. During the past school year, juvenile arrests only made up about 3% of ACPD’s total arrests, the data shows.
Overall, crime in Arlington has increased from pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest ACPD annual report.
A number of factors may be behind the big drop in juvenile arrests, including — notably — changes to how the police department interacts with Arlington Public Schools. The school system voted to remove School Resource Officers from school buildings in June 2021 amid concerns about racial disparities in youth arrests and scrutiny of what advocates termed a “school-to-prison pipeline.”
“Contributing factors to the decline may include legislative changes, changes in crime trends during the COVID-19 pandemic, updated policies between ACPD and APS, and reduced police staffing,” said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
It’s unclear how many of the juvenile arrests are of local students. Savage noted that “while the request for juvenile arrest statistics was related to timeframes that encompass the school year, these statistics reflect all juvenile arrests at any location in the County and do not necessarily involve Arlington County students.”
Despite some high–profile incidents at schools since the removal of SROs — and some adjustments to APS involving law enforcement in certain circumstances — officials say they’ve been able to keep students safe without the on-site police presence.
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