CHARLOTTE, Mich. — The Eaton Rapids' city attorney says he has been seeing a disturbing trend in the Island City with kids as young as 10 years old.
Now, he's highlighting the issue with city officials in the hopes of seeing some change.
Back in December, FOX 47 News brought you the story of a Grinch who destroyed several Christmas decorations at the G.A.R. Island Park.
Turns out that the culprits were a group of very young kids.
City attorney Cullen Harkness says the rate of juvenile crimes in Eaton Rapids has been rising for the last two years.
"In 2020, we did about nine juvenile files. Part of that is somewhat due to the pandemic, but overall, it's been an increase. In 2021, we did 24. Last year, it was 35," said Harkness.
Juvenile prosecutions are expected to be even higher this year.
Community activist Michael Lynn and his wife run a series of programs to help area youth.
Lynn says prosecuting kids isn't the answer.
"We know that prosecution is more punitive than it is rehabilitative. What are you giving them so that they won't recommit," said Lynn.
Harkness says he thinks there are several issues leading kids to break the law.
"I think several of these juveniles have some mental health issues that are not being addressed," said Harkness.
He says he wants the community to know violating the law at any age in Eaton Rapids won't be tolerated.
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