Juvenile Prosecutor sees 10-year increase in teens tried as adults

The prosecutor attributes the severity of crime to two things: fire arms and social media (courtesy:NBC24.com).

TOLEDO, OHIO (WNWO)-- So far this year in Lucas County three underage teens have been tried as adults in murder cases. Lucas County Juvenile Prosecutor has witnessed the number of those cases going up over the past several years.

"We look back 20 years ago when the youth that were in detention. It was for not murder, not carrying concealed weapon, it was for you know thefts or different things like that so i think it's really interesting that there's such a big change," said Olender.

The Prosecutor has noticed a rise in homicides in juvenile court. Last year they had 7. In the last 18 months nearly every certification, every teen she's tried as an adult, has been a murder charge.

The prosecutor attributes it to two things: fire arms and social media.

"It's totally different with social media, so with everything out there youth today just don't have the same respect I think that they did 20 years ago. "

"Their environment can make them follow the perspectives of their peers," said Johnny Reese, a licensed insurance agent and grad student who says these numbers are why it's so important for him to mentor kids. He hosts a youth football program.

"I pick up about 15-20 kids a day and commute them to Winter field park."

Reese grew up in Toledo. He fathered his first child in high school but says between extracurricular activities as well as mentors he was able to stay on the right path.

"75 % comes to parents and 25 is environment."

Olender says she can sympathize with the challenges kids are going through,but she just wants young people to put the guns down.

"It's not hard as a prosecutor because I'm doing my job, it's hard as a human being to see youth getting in the kinds of trouble that they're getting into."

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