Author(s): The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
- Charles Puzzanchera
Published: August 2019
“This bulletin documents the latest trends in arrests involving juveniles (youth younger than age 18) by drawing on arrest estimates developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Juvenile Justice based on analyses of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. Overall, juvenile arrests have been on the decline for more than a decade, but patterns vary by demographic group and offense.
- Arrests of juveniles (youth ages 0–17) peaked in 1996, at nearly 2.7 million. Arrests of juveniles have since declined—the number in 2017 was 70% below the 1996 peak. In comparison, arrests of adults fell 21% during the same period.
- The juvenile arrest rate for aggravated assault declined in the last 5 years, the robbery arrest rate stayed about the same, and the murder arrest rate increased annually since 2012.
- Juvenile arrest rates for property crimes have declined in recent years. By 2017, juvenile arrest rates for larceny-theft, burglary, and arson were at their lowest levels since at least 1980, while rates for motor vehicle theft increased annually since 2013.
- The violent crime arrest rate for older juveniles (ages 15 to 17) was lower than the rates for young adults (ages 18 to 20 and 21 to 24).
- Male and female juvenile arrest rates have declined in the last 10 years; however, the relative declines have been greater for males than for females across many offenses. As a result, the female share of juvenile arrests has grown since 1980.
- Juvenile arrest rates involving violent crimes (such as murder and robbery) tend to be much higher for black youth than for white youth. Conversely, arrest rates for liquor law violations were higher for American Indian and white youth than black youth”