Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Editorial: Experts can help reverse deadly trend of teen car thefts in Pinellas

Published Dec. 1, 2017

Expert eyes are examining Pinellas County's juvenile car thefts, a welcome development in an epidemic that continues to endanger the community. The Caruthers Institute think tank has launched an $85,000 research project and will make policy recommendations to state lawmakers. Solutions and explanations are still sorely needed before this reckless behavior claims another life.

The Tampa Bay Times series "Hot Wheels" detailed how car theft among teenagers is an outsized problem in Pinellas County. More juveniles than adults are arrested for grand theft auto in Pinellas, a trend that is not mirrored anywhere else in Florida. Reporters found that a kid crashes a stolen car in Pinellas every four days on average. This week, a flurry of thefts has rattled residents in the upscale Old Northeast neighborhood of St. Petersburg.

The Caruthers project will study other places that have experienced teen crimes waves, a potentially useful comparison because no one has so far been able to explain why juvenile car theft is so rampant in Pinellas. Researchers also plan to examine the home lives of the teenage thieves. That's especially important given that a small group of teenagers from poor pockets of St. Petersburg are responsible for most of the thefts, the data shows. The teens who spoke to Times reporters said they steal cars out of boredom and for the social media cachet it brings. And, they often say, because no one at home is paying attention or cares.

Getting to the bottom of those deep-rooted issues is the beginning of reversing this deadly trend.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
  2. editorial cartoon from times wires Andy Marlette -- Pensacola News Journal
  3. Governor Ron DeSantis. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times] "OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Here’s what readers had to say in Tuesday’s paper.
  4. Chris Corr is the president of Raydient Places & Properties, Rayonier, and the chair of the Florida Council of 100, a nonpartisan group of business and civic leaders. Tim Nickens
    The Council of 100 focuses on new strategies to recruit and retain the best teachers. | Column
  5. Oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig in April 2010.  [Associated Press]
    The House has voted to permanently ban oil drilling off the Gulf Coast. Now the Senate should approve it.
  6. Oscar-winning pop star Sam Smith, who is non-binary, announced Friday that they now use "they/them" as their third-person pronouns. On social media, they said that "after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am ..." JOEL C RYAN  |  Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP
    The singer now uses they/them pronouns. It shouldn’t be hard for reporters to recognize — and explain — gender non-binary terms. | Ashley Dye
  7. After more than 18 years as a Times columnist, Ernest Hooper starts a new chapter as assistant sports editor. JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    After more than 18 years as a Times columnist, Ernest Hooper starts a new chapter as assistant sports editor.
  8. Firemen and ambulance attendants remove a body from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where an explosion ripped the structure during services Sept.15,1963 . Associated Press
    Fifty-six years ago, a bomb blew apart the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four girls and injuring dozens more.
  9. In their political afterlife, former politicians and their staffers are hoarding unspent campaign donations for years and using them to finance their lifestyles, advance new careers and pay family members, an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times, 10News WTSP and TEGNA-owned TV stations found. CHRISTOPHER O'DONNELL  |  Steve Madden
    Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Kathy Castor are still pushing the House to take up the reform legislation. It’s past time.
  10. Yesterday• Letters to the Editor
    High tide from offshore hurricane Michael creeps up into the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs Wednesday afternoon after the Anclote River backs up. Jim Damaske
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s paper.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement