February 10, 2013
Juvenile violent crime is at its lowest level since 1987, and fell 30% between 1994 and 1998. Fewer than half of serious violent crimes by juveniles are reported to law enforcement. This number has not changed significantly in 20 years. The rate at which juveniles committed serious violent crimes changed little between 1973 and 1989, peaked in 1993, and by 1997 declined to the lowest level since 1986. On average, juveniles were involved in one-quarter of all serious violent victimizations (not including murder) committed annually over the last 25 years. In 1999, law enforcement officers arrested an estimated 2.5 million juveniles. Approximately 104,000 of these arrests were for violent crimes. The most common offense was larceny-theft (Frontline, 1999). Juveniles accounted for 16% percent of all violent crime arrests and 32% of all property crime arrests in 1999. They accounted for 54% of all arson arrests, 42% of vandalism arrests, 31% of larceny-theft arrests, and 33% of burglary arrests. Juvenile arrest rates for violent crimes are down: the percentage of all juveniles arrested for violent crimes fell to an 11 year low in 1999, to 339 for every 100,000 individuals ages 12-17. This represents a 36% drop from the peak year 1994. Juvenile arrest rates for property crimes remained relatively stable between 1980 and 1999. In 1998, for every 100,000 youth in the United States ages 10 through 17, there were 1,751 arrests of juveniles for property offenses (Frontline, 1999). The nation's juvenile courts disposed of more than 1.7 million delinquency cases in 1997. ("Delinquency" offenses are those committed by a juvenile which would be crimes if committed by an adult). Two thousand of those were for criminal homicide, 6,500 for forcible rape, and 67,900 for aggravated assault. More than 180,000 were for drug related offenses. The overall delinquency caseload was 48% larger in 1997 than it was in 1988, and four times as large as it was in 1960...
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