Juvenile Crime Statistics Essay

Juvenile Crime Statistics Essay

Juvenile Crime Statistics 2

Juvenile Crime Statistics

Tania Iversen

CJA/374 - Juvenile Justice Systems and Processes

April 10, 2014

Jess Gutierrez

Juvenile Crime Statistics

By definition, a juvenile is considered a person under the age of 18 years old. A child or youth who commits a crime or is otherwise beyond the control of his or her parents is considered a juvenile delinquent. Juvenile crime has been an issue throughout the United States since the early 1800s, with the first court system being established in 1899. By researching and examining statistics, law enforcement agencies now must report everything from arrests and violent crimes, to simple assault and drug offenses in an attempt to compare and find trends in juvenile activity.

Overall Decrease in Juvenile Arrests

Juvenile arrests in 2008 decreased by 3% compared to the rates from 2007. Specific crimes that occurred include violent crimes such as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Although juvenile arrests declined to less than 10%, property crime arrests however increased. According, to the Juvenile Arrests 2008 bulletin, property crimes increased between 2006 and 2008.

Drug Offenses and Simple Assaults

In 2008, juveniles arrested for drug offenses totaled 180, 100. At 11%, the arrests differed significantly from that of previous years, but as of recently, has been steadily increasing again. The percentage of simple assaults however decreased in 2008 to 6% of that from past years.

Juvenile Females and Minorities

Juvenile arrests in 2008 mainly focused on the increase and decrease of female arrests. In 2008, 30% of juveniles arrested for crimes were female. Compared to men, violent crimes were lower for females than that of males. Simple assaults, larceny, and DUI arrests increased for females as compared to the decrease in male arrests. For example, larceny-theft for females increased to 4% and male arrests decreased to 29% in 2008. There was also an increase in property crimes among young females to 29%, while male arrests declined by 5%. According to this bulletin, only 16% of Black juveniles make up for population but are however responsible for 52% of all violent crime arrests, and 33% of property crime arrests ("Juvenile Arrests 2008", 2009).


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ment” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1998:5). The crime index includes the violent offenses of murder and nonnegligent homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and the property offenses of burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

There are drawbacks to using arrest data as a measure of crime. Arrest statistics do not reflect the number of different people arrested each year, because an unknown number of people may be arrested more than once in a year. For some crimes, no arrests are made. For others, there may be multiple arrests. Furthermore, not everyone who is arrested has committed the crime for which he or she was arrested. Arrests also depend on a number of factors other than overall crime levels, including policies of particular police agencies, the cooperation of victims, the skill of the perpetrator, and the age, sex, race, and social class of the suspect (Cook and Laub, 1998; McCord, 1997c).

Nor should arrest statistics be confused with the number of crimes committed, because in some cases, the arrest of one person may account for a series of crimes, and in others several people may be arrested for one crime. This is particularly true for young people, who are more likely than adults to commit crimes in a group (McCord, 1990; Reiss, 1986; Reiss and Farrington, 1991; Zimring, 1981). Snyder (1998) contends that this tendency to offend in groups makes arrest statistics an inappropriate measure of the relative proportion of crime attributed to young people. Checking on Snyder's position, McCord and Conway (2000) analyzed a random sample of juvenile offenders in Philadelphia. They found that the number of crimes accounted for by juveniles would be reduced by approximately 40 percent with an adjustment for co-offending. Rather, arrest statistics measure the flow of young people into the juvenile justice system or the criminal justice system. For this reason, the number of crimes known to police is often a preferred measure of crime (Cook and Laub, 1998). The UCR provide information on all crimes known to reporting police agencies, whether or not an arrest has been made. There is no information on age of the perpetrator, however, in the data on crimes known to police; thus even if they are a more accurate crime measure, the number of crimes known to police cannot be used to analyze juvenile crime.

Arrest clearance statistics, which measure the proportion of reported crime cleared by arrest (or other exceptional means, such as death of the offender), may more accurately portray the proportion of crime committed by young people, according to Snyder (1998). But even clearance statistics may overestimate juvenile crime. For example, if young people are more easily apprehended than adults, the proportion of their crimes cleared by arrest would be higher than the proportion of all crimes for which they were responsible (Snyder, 1998). The proportion of young


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