The Juvenile Justice statistics provided on the Community Atlas are from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The DJJ mission is to protect the public by reducing juvenile crime and delinquency in Florida. The agency emphasizes prevention and intervention as a means to reduce crime, and tries to provide a balanced approach that includes rehabilitation, education and incarceration, as a last resort.
The latest DJJ data available is for 2012-2013, with additional years of data going back to 2010 to allow for comparison and trending. Data and research materials are available from the Office of Research and Planning, including the Delinquency Profile, a rich source of information on the levels and trends of juvenile justice in Florida, and more specifically in Circuit Court 13 (Hillsborough County).
When reviewing juvenile justice statistics on the Community Atlas remember that the emphasis is on the number of youths referred rather than the number of referrals or offenses (see "How are the data collected?" below for further details).
Juvenile justice data can be an important tool for communities to better understand patterns and trends. Looking at the data, a community can see whether reported juvenile crimes are increasing or decreasing. They can also see how they compare to other communities around the county. Crime is often considered a quality of life issue for communities.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice works from the premise that preventing crime is the best strategy to keep communities safe. They work with a variety of partners to provide strong prevention and early intervention services for at-risk youth and minor offenders. The DJJ collects and reports data, administers federal delinquency prevention funding, conducts research and produces varied publications and on-line materials that can be used by communities to be part of the solution of safer neighborhoods while helping our troubled youth become successful, productive adults.
Before interpreting the juvenile crime data presented, please read the "Caveats and Limitations" section below. This data can easily be misunderstood and should be used in the context of the overall information available from the DJJ. View this data as a tool to better understand juvenile crime conditions, not as an exact reflection of what is going on in a community.
Although there are numerous sources of data on juvenile delinquency available from the DJJ (e.g. Outcome Evaluation Reports, Program Accountability Measures Reports, the What Works Initiative, etc.), the information displayed on the Community Atlas relies primarily on the Delinquency Profiles produced by the agency. The Profiles examine Florida's juvenile justice system at several points: intake, detention, judicial and non-judicial handling, diversion, juvenile probation, commitment, and transfers to the adult court system. Data can be accessed by judicial circuit, county and zip code.
The source of the data used to compile the Profile of Delinquency is the Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS), a database managed by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Referral records received focus on the individual counties and judicial circuits in Florida. Two units of analysis are used in the report, "referrals" and "youths referred". The number of "referrals" is determined by selecting the most serious offense reported received on JJIS for any individual youth on a specific date. If the same juvenile is referred for several offenses on the same date, these would be counted together as one referral, with the most serious offense on that date used for analysis. If that juvenile is referred for one or more offenses on another date during the year it would be counted as another referral. The number of "youths" is determined by selecting the most serious offense for any specific offender logged on JJIS during a fiscal year. Data on the Community Atlas relies on youths referred since this type of information makes more sense to teachers, citizens and others in the community, and can be useful for prevention and assessment of community programs.
The best source of information for questions about Juvenile Justice is the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice website (http://www.djj.state.fl.us).