‘We’ve got to be vigilant’: Juvenile court judge speaks about aggravated assault, high-profile juvenile cases

SAN ANTONIO – Crimes committed by teenagers or even sometimes kids seem to be escalating in Bexar County.

Juvenile District Court Judge William Cruz Shaw said that, as of late, there hasn’t been so much of an increase in the number of criminal cases involving juveniles, but there has been an increase in some types of violent crimes.

“Usually, it’s the same group of kids committing the same offenses over and over again. But our numbers are pretty steady right now. But we are getting a lot more high-profile cases,” Shaw said.

The Bexar County Juvenile Probation Trend Report for the first three months of the year saw a 32% rise in juvenile felony aggravated assault cases.

Shaw believes various issues could be causing the increase.

“Putting a bunch of kids together, school environments, they have issues with other kids, social media,” Shaw said. “And it’s just a different environment now compared to when we grew up.”

Shaw also said that juveniles involved in higher-profile cases are now being certified as adults.

“As long as the state can prove certain elements of that process, then the court has the ability to send them straight to the adult side to be tried as an adult.”

The goal for Shaw and others involved in juvenile courts is not only to help the child but the entire family.

“Our main focus is on the best interests of that child,” Shaw said. “We focus on rehabilitation. We’re going to give services. We’re going to provide wraparound services to both the child and the family to hopefully get them the help that they need so they don’t re-offend.”

And it does take a village. Shaw encourages everyone to say something if they see something, especially on social media.

“We’ve got (to) be vigilant,” Shaw said.

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