A 15-year-old boy is under arrest, suspected of shooting at another teenager here in Reno Monday night. Police say they were fighting over a girl. Luckily no one was hurt, but officials say the incident points to an alarming new trend in Nothern Nevada.
"They all too often make impulsive, uniformed choices that get them into serious trouble."
Leonard Pugh, the director of Washoe County Juvenile Services, says in the past few years he has seen a rise in the number of teenagers coming through these doors for committing violent crimes against other teens. He also says more young people are getting their hands on weapons, like guns.
"I think there's a variety of ways they get their hands on guns. Some gang members are able to get a hold of them. They're also taken in burglaries."
Others simply take from family members, or use more convenient weapons like baseball bats or garden tools. Pugh says there are many theories out there as to why more and more teens are acting out -- some blame violent video games or television. But pugh says violence in a child is typically a learned behavior..either from parents, siblings or close friends.
"Where the research is consistent, is that kids that are reared in violent situations and exposed to violence, they become somewhat desensitized to it and the likelihood of them getting involved in violent crime is increased.
Experts also say that the younger a kid is brought to juvenille hall, the greater the chance they'll continue to get into serious trouble. For example, a 15 or 16-year-old kid will likely be rehabilitated. But if a child is brought here at age 9 or 10, experts say that could be a sign of serious trouble.
"Some of the basic things parents need to pay attention to are peer groups, who they hang out with, what time they're coming home at night."