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Juvenile gun crimes in Dauphin Co. in 2017 already surpass last year totals

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Staggering statistics supplied to FOX43 from the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office show gun crimes involving juveniles in 2017 have already surpassed the totals from all of 2016.

According to the Dauphin County juvenile probation department, there have been 34 reported gun-related cases involving a juvenile in the county, someone 17 years old or younger. By comparison, there were 31 gun cases with juveniles in Dauphin County last year.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico says the statistics involving youth are "out of the ordinary." The juvenile probation department has mentioned the stunning rise of gun crimes to Marsico multiple times this year, although county law enforcement leaders have been unable to pinpoint why the numbers are up.

"Maybe its something in the community. Maybe its a loosely formed gang cropping up," Marsico wondered. "We have to try and get a handle on it."

Marsico suggested his office will do more in the future to work with local police, the juvenile office, and possibly juvenile court judges on figuring out how to curb the growing number of gun crimes in youth. These crimes include shots fired incidents and loaded guns, but most cases, Marsico said, involve illegal possession.

"If you're carrying an illegal firearm and you're a juvenile, you should probably be detained," Marsico said. "Just like we ask for high bail for someone carrying an illegal firearm as an adult, maybe you need time in (juvenile) detention."