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Juvenile Crime Statistics

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    Juvenile Crime Statistics

                The 1990’s era witnessed an enormous increase in juvenile crime, which was mostly comprised of crimes of violence. The considerable intensification in juvenile violent crime arrests started in the late 1980s and escalated in 1994. In 2001, the United States’ law enforcement agencies made roughly 2.3 million arrests of persons less than 18 years old (Snyder, 2003, p.1). According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, juveniles comprised 17 percent of the entire arrests and 15 percent of every violent crime arrest in 2001. Nevertheless, in 2001 and for the seventh consecutive year, the rate of juvenile arrests for aggravated assault, robbery, forcible rape, and murder declined.

    Juvenile Arrest in 2001

                The juvenile arrest rate for Violent Crime Index offenses between 1994 and 2001 fell by 44 percent. Accordingly, since 1983 the juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate in 2001 was the lowest. From its highest point in 1993 to 2001, the rate of juvenile arrest for murder fell approximately one-third or 70 percent.  In 2001, juveniles were involved in 23 percent weapons arrests, 24 percent of robbery arrests, 31 percent of burglary arrests, 14 percent of aggravated assaults, and 10 percent of murder arrest. During the same year, arrest of juveniles made up 12 percent of the entire violent crimes, particularly 12 percent of aggravated assaults, 14 percent of robberies, 12 percent of forcible rapes, and 5 percent of murders. Between 1980 2001, the rates of juvenile arrest for burglary declined by 66 percent. The aggravated assault arrest rate for both the youngest and the oldest juveniles between 1994 and 2001 declined, but the decline was reasonably larger for the older juveniles than the younger juveniles, which is 38 percent against 9 percent. The gap in rates for violent crime arrest rates black and white juveniles substantially declined between 1980 and 2001. Finally, for property Crime Index offenses, the rates for juvenile arrest in 2001 reached its lowest level since the 1960s.

    Increase in Drug Offenses and Simple Assaults

    In 2001, entirely 72 percent of the juvenile violent crimes are simple assaults. Previously, however, between the early 1980s and the late 1990s the rate of juvenile arrest for simple assault considerably increased, and with an almost 150 percent increase throughout 1983 to 1997.  Between 1997 and 2001, the rate fell slightly too about 7 percent, yet remaining closely in 2001 to its previously soaring levels (The Disproportionate Minority Contact Task Force, 2004). On the other hand, the rate of juvenile arrest for drug abuse violations between 1980 and 1993 remained within a restricted range. However, between 1993 and 1997 the rate increased by 77 percent. By 2001, the rate had dropped 16 percent since its high in 1997 (The Disproportionate Minority Contact Task Force, 2004). However, during the 1992 to 2001 period, arrests for juvenile drug abuse violations soared to 121 percent.

    Implications for Juvenile Minorities and Females

                In 2001, law enforcement agencies made 645,000 arrests on females less than 18 years of age. In most offense categories, arrests of juvenile females between 1992 and 2001usually increased more than male arrests. The change in the rate of female juvenile arrest between 1980 and 2001was greater than the change in the rates of male for violations of weapons law, simple assault, and aggravated assaults, which were respectively 140 percent against 16 percent, 257 percent against 109 percent, and 113 percent against 22 percent.

                In contrast, the composition of racial juveniles to the entire juvenile population in America was 1 percent American-Indian, 4 percent Pacific and Asian Islander, 17 percent African-American, and 78 percent white (Snyder, 2003, p.9). However, African-American youth were overrepresented in both violent crimes and property crimes arrest. Of all juvenile arrests for violent crimes, 1 percent involved American-Indian, 1 percent involved Asian, 43 percent involved African-American, and 55 percent involved white. For property crime arrest, the proportions were 1 percent American-Indian, 2 percent Asian, 28 percent African-American, and 68 percent white.

    From 1980 to 2001, the difference in the rates of black-to-white juvenile arrest for violent crimes declined. The rate of black juvenile arrest in 1980 was 6.3 times more than the white rate; however, in 2001, the rate difference had declined to 3.6. This decline in the disparities of arrest rate between 1980 and 2001 was mostly the effect of the decline in disparities for robbery arrest between black and white, which was 11.5 in 1980 down to 6.8 in 2001; greater than the decline for aggravated assault, which was 3.2 to 2.8.

    Tracking of Juvenile Arrests as a Method of Measuring Trends in Juvenile Crime

                Observers can draw different conclusions concerning the trends of juvenile violence depending on the sources of information use to assess changes. There are three diverse kinds of measures used to determine the amount of and trends of violent and serious juvenile delinquency: delinquency self-report surveys, victimization surveys and police arrests (SAGE Publication, 2003, p.1). In using the arrest data, findings of juvenile crimes are derived annually from records of local law enforcement agencies all over the country. This information is drawn on to describe the nature and extent of juvenile crime that comes to the knowledge of the justice system. Federal and state legislators, the print and broadcast media, and local and state policy makers generally refer to this data in making policy changes statistics and in tracking juvenile crime trends. However, the arrest data points out that the response of society to juvenile crime is not the actual level of crime shown in the data, since law enforcement makes arrests depending on local policies. Moreover, arrest rates for the similar types of offenses differ from every community.

    For the entirety of juvenile arrests, 27 percent were female and 73 percent were male. Evidence revealed, however, that regardless of sex only a small percentage of offenders carry out most of the violent and serious juvenile crimes. Taken as a whole, chronic delinquents consist of no more than ten percent of juvenile offenders, but are accountable for two-thirds of the entire violent crimes. Statistics confirms that the arrest of severe violent careers starts to intensify at age twelve, and continues to intensify to hit the highest point at ages sixteen to seventeen. Mere probation, community service, counseling and treatment can never be the appropriate answer to juvenile violent crimes. For treatment and intervention purposes, it is apparent that the juvenile justice system is not considering several juvenile offenders until it is very late to effectively intervene.


    SAGE Publication. (2003, January 18). Serious and Violent Juvenile Delinquency Trends and Unique Features of Juvenile Violence. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from

    Snyder, H. N. (2003, December). Juvenile Arrests 2001. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from

    The Disproportionate Minority Contact Task Force.  (2004, May 19). Juvenile arrests disproportionately involved minorities. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from


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