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Juvenile Runaways

NCJ Number
Kelly Dedel
Date Published
February 2006
86 pages
This guide describes the problem of juvenile runaways, discusses how to analyze the local juvenile runaway problem, and presents recommendations for law enforcement responses.
Designed for police officers of any rank and assignment, the Problem-Specific Guides summarize knowledge about how police can analyze and reduce particular crime problems in local communities. Following a description of the problem of juvenile runaways and the factors contributing to this problem, this guide identifies a series of questions that will help law enforcement officers analyze the extent of the local juvenile runaway problem. Questions help officers gauge the extent of the local problem, the reasons juveniles runaway, the degree of involvement runaways have in criminal behavior as well as victimization, and the responses to juvenile runaways currently implemented in the local community. Considerations for an effective juvenile runaway response strategy are offered and include agency-level responses, such as collaborating with social service agencies to ensure juveniles at risk are provided with appropriate services, as well as specific responses that can be launched before juveniles runaway, when they runaway, while they are absent, and when they return. These specific responses include the use of respite care to give family members a break, diverting appropriate cases to community-based organizations, and implementing specialized patrols in areas where juveniles congregate. Responses with limited effectiveness are also outlined so that law enforcement officers can avoid them; these include handling cases over the telephone and confining juveniles in secure detention facilities. Exhibits, appendix, endnotes, references, recommended readings