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Renton police sound alarm over rising juvenile crime rate

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(The Center Square) – Juvenile crime continues to be a challenge in Renton

Renton Deputy Police Chief Ryan Rutledge presented an update on the city’s juvenile crime trend to the Public Safety Committee on Monday. Rutledge said 65 juvenile arrests were made in 2023, with 40 of the suspects being residents of Renton.

Through the first three months of 2024, there have been 17 juvenile arrests, with 11 suspects having Renton addresses.

Juvenile crimes in the city dropped from a high of 53 arrests in 2020 to 27 arrests in 2022. Last year signaled juvenile crime trends are once again on the rise.

Members of the city council asked about the possibility that these crimes involve one suspect committing multiple crimes. Rutledge said that from 2020 through 2024, there had been 25 juveniles arrested more than once, but was hesitant to say the crimes were gang-related.

“I think some [cases of crime] are more organized than others, but there is definitely an element of some organized tactics to some of these incidents,” Rutledge said at the committee meeting.

Rutledge mentioned a few juvenile crimes that occurred just in the last two weeks, including multiple carjackings and a commercial burglary. He added that there is evidence that the stolen vehicles are being used to commit other crimes.

Firearms were recovered in some of these cases as well. Statistics from last year show that the Renton Police Department recovered 57 firearms in 2023 and 11 in 2024.

Rutledge said that the police department is emphasizing its school resource officers connect with young people.

“Our philosophy for our school resource officers is to build strong relationships with those students, their parents, [and] their guardians – because it takes a community,” Rutledge said. “The more relationships we have and the trust that we can build, we can help divert some of the youth that are starting to cause trouble or going down the wrong path.”