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Juvenile court caseload falls

By RYAN DUNN
staff writer
Hancock County Juvenile Court last year saw another drop in cases filed, following statewide and national trends.
The court’s 1,491 cases, which include delinquency, traffic, and modification of support matters, reflect a roughly 8 percent decrease from 2012.
Case totals have fallen nearly every year since 2005, when 2,520 were recorded.
Juvenile court officials across the country are totaling fewer cases, Judge Allan Davis said.
“We’re always impressed, too, every year the way our figures keep decreasing,” Davis said.
Some of the biggest drops tallied in the court’s annual report are for drug possession, obstructing justice, and possession of stolen property.
Davis said although the decrease in case filings is positive, he’s noticing an increase in severe problems among juveniles.
“We’re seeing more and more … kids with drug problems, with mental health problems,” he said.
Davis contrasted his court’s role now with when he was first elected judge in 1974. At that time, juvenile crime and vandalism were leading topics in the area, he said.
Today, the court often uses GPS tracking for those on probation, which has saved money and kept youth in the area, Davis said.
“We have a lot more confidence in releasing them to community controls knowing that they’re being well monitored,” Davis said.
Statewide, the number of detained juveniles has dropped considerably.
The Ohio Department of Youth Services, which once housed about 2,500 juveniles, on March 31 held 510 juveniles, Davis said.
Dunn: 419-427-8417
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Twitter: @CourierRyan

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