Relevant research studies were identified through. The panel met six times between June and October to discuss data availability and research findings, identify critical issues, analyze the data and issues, seek additional information on specific concerns, formulate conclusions and recommendations, and develop this report. Four of these meetings were preceded by workshops at which experts presented information on selected topics and engaged in discussions with panel members.
Workshops were held on education and delinquency, juvenile justice system issues, developmental issues relevant to delinquency, and racial disparity in the juvenile justice system. See Appendix E for workshop agendas. In addition to the workshops, Howard Snyder, research director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, spent part of one meeting discussing relevant datasets with the panel members.
Several members of the panel made site visits to juvenile detention and correctional facilities in Texas and New York. Study panel members and staff also consulted informally with various experts between meetings. The charge to the panel was extremely broad, covering many topics that merit books unto themselves, and indeed some of the areas have been the subject of more than one recent book. The panel chose to provide a broad overview of juvenile crime and the juvenile justice system, touching on all the topics in its charge, but going into various levels of depth depending on the amount and quality of data available.
In organizing its plan for the study, the panel focused on answering several questions:. What have been the major trends in juvenile crime over the past 20 to 30 years, and what can be predicted about future trends? What is the role of developmental factors in delinquent behavior and how do families, peers, communities, and social influences contribute to or inhibit that behavior?
What responses are in place to deal with juvenile crime today, are they developmentally appropriate, and do they work? This report reviews the data and research available to answer these questions, suggests areas that require additional research, and makes recommendations about policies for dealing with child and adolescent offenders. The terms juvenile and delinquency or delinquent have specific legal meanings in state and federal law. In this report, however, the panel uses the term juvenile 3 in its general sense, referring to anyone under the age of 18, unless otherwise specified.
The terms young person, youngster, youth, and child and adolescent are used synonymously with juvenile. For many of the analyses of crime trends in Chapter 2 , juvenile refers to those between the ages of 10 and 17, because those under the age of 10 are seldom arrested. We use the term adolescent to refer specifically to young people between the ages of 13 and The term delinquency 4 in this report refers to acts by a juvenile that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult, as well as to actions that are illegal only because of the age of the offender.
The report uses the term criminal delinquency to refer specifically to the former and status delinquency to refer specifically to the latter. Criminal delinquency offenses include, for example, homicide, robbery, assault, burglary, and theft. The term juvenile crime is used synonymously with criminal delinquency. Status delinquency offenses include truancy, running away from home, incorrigibility i.
In some states, status delinquents are referred to the child welfare or social service systems, while in others status delinquents are dealt with in the juvenile justice system. Following this introduction, Chapter 2 discusses the datasets commonly used to measure juvenile crime rates, examining the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.
The chapter then discusses the trends in juvenile crime rates over the past several decades and how trends differ depending on the dataset employed. Differences in crime rates and. In the context of crime, juveniles are defined as those under a specified age, which differs from state to state, who are not subject to criminal sanctions when they commit behavior that would be considered criminal for someone over that age.
Depending on the state, the age at which a young person is considered a juvenile may end at 15, 16, or This makes the legal use of the term juvenile difficult when discussing multiple jurisdictions. The use of the term delinquency differs from state to state. In some states it refers only to offenses that would be criminal if committed by an adult; in others it also includes status offenses. The chapter ends with a discussion of forecasting juvenile crime rates.
Chapter 3 examines factors related to the development of antisocial behavior and delinquency. Several other recent reports Loeber et al. In this report we have attempted to supplement these other reports rather than duplicate their literature reviews.
In addition, this report does not confine its discussion to serious, violent offending. Chapters 4 and 5 cover responses to the problem of youth crime. Chapter 4 focuses on preventive interventions aimed at individuals, peer groups, and families, interventions delivered in schools, and community-based interventions. Chapter 5 describes the juvenile justice system process in the United States and discusses treatment and intervention programs delivered through the juvenile justice system.
Chapter 6 examines the issue of racial disparity in the juvenile justice system, discussing explanations that have been put forth to explain that disparity and the research support for those explanations. The panel's conclusions and recommendations for research and policy can be found at the end of each chapter. Even though youth crime rates have fallen since the mids, public fear and political rhetoric over the issue have heightened.
The Columbine shootings and other sensational incidents add to the furor. Often overlooked are the underlying problems of child poverty, social disadvantage, and the pitfalls inherent to adolescent decisionmaking that contribute to youth crime. From a policy standpoint, adolescent offenders are caught in the crossfire between nurturance of youth and punishment of criminals, between rehabilitation and "get tough" pronouncements.
In the midst of this emotional debate, the National Research Council's Panel on Juvenile Crime steps forward with an authoritative review of the best available data and analysis. Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice presents recommendations for addressing the many aspects of America's youth crime problem. This timely release discusses patterns and trends in crimes by children and adolescents—trends revealed by arrest data, victim reports, and other sources; youth crime within general crime; and race and sex disparities.
The book explores desistance—the probability that delinquency or criminal activities decrease with age—and evaluates different approaches to predicting future crime rates. Why do young people turn to delinquency? Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice presents what we know and what we urgently need to find out about contributing factors, ranging from prenatal care, differences in temperament, and family influences to the role of peer relationships, the impact of the school policies toward delinquency, and the broader influences of the neighborhood and community.
Equally important, this book examines a range of solutions:. The book includes background on the American juvenile court system, useful comparisons with the juvenile justice systems of other nations, and other important information for assessing this problem. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.
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Get This Book. Visit NAP. Looking for other ways to read this? No thanks. Suggested Citation: "Introduction. Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice. Page 14 Share Cite. Page 15 Share Cite. Page 16 Share Cite. Page 17 Share Cite. Page 18 Share Cite. Page 19 Share Cite. Transfer to Adult Court Allowable? Page 20 Share Cite. Page 21 Share Cite. Page 22 Share Cite. In organizing its plan for the study, the panel focused on answering several questions: What have been the major trends in juvenile crime over the past 20 to 30 years, and what can be predicted about future trends?
Page 23 Share Cite. Page 24 Share Cite. Page 13 Share Cite. Login or Register to save! Equally important, this book examines a range of solutions: Prevention and intervention efforts directed to individuals, peer groups, and families, as well as day care-, school- and community-based initiatives. Intervention within the juvenile justice system. Role of the police. Processing and detention of youth offenders.
Transferring youths to the adult judicial system. Residential placement of juveniles. Stay Connected! Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. Age of Adult Criminal Responsibility. Court That Handles Juveniles. Special sections in local and regional courts; youth courts.
Children's tribunals; youth courts of assizes. Single sitting judge; juvenile court; juvenile chamber. Special sections of regular courts. Maximum Length of Sentence for a Juvenile. Separation of Incarcerated Juveniles from Adults. The increase in arrest rates does not necessarily mean that crime had grown by 28 percent.
The arrest rate can be influenced by changes in policy, in police practices, and in the number of offenders arrested per crime. In fact, victim reports of overall crime indicate fairly consistent decreases since the early s.
The picture of crime becomes more complicated when broken down by age and offense. Official crime rates are based on data reported by police agencies to the FBI about the index crimes of homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—which make up the violent crime index—and burglary, larceny and theft, auto theft, and arson—which make up the property crime index.
In , there were a total estimated 12,, index crimes both violent and property known to police, 2,, arrests for index crimes, and 14,, arrests for all crimes including status offenses in the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, The vast major-. Source: Arrest data from Federal Bureau of Investigation Arrests of those ages 10 to 17 accounted for In , when those ages 10 to 17 were 11 percent of the population, Not only do young people account for a small percentage of all arrests, but also the vast majority of arrests of those ages 10 to17 are for nonindex crimes 73 percent of arrests in , which are less serious than index crimes see Table In , only 4 percent of juvenile arrests were for index violent crimes and less than one-tenth of one percent of their arrests were for homicide.
Even in , at the height of the violent crime wave that began in the mid to late s, only about 6 percent of all juvenile arrests were for violent crimes and about two-tenths of one percent were for homicide. Young people are much more likely to be arrested for property crimes than for violent crimes. In comparison, in , about 5 percent of arrests of those over age 18 were.
The likelihood of arrest differs by race, gender, and area of the country. For young people under 18, blacks and males have consistently higher arrest rates than whites and females, respectively, for both violent crimes and property crimes. In , males accounted for 83 percent of arrests of those under 18 for violent crimes and 72 percent of arrests for property crimes. In , only 15 percent of those under age 18 in the United States were black whites made up 79 percent and other races were 6 percent of the juvenile population , yet blacks made up Distributions for adults are similar, with blacks accounting for a disproportionate 40 percent of violent crime arrests and 35 percent of property crime arrests, compared with whites at 58 percent for violent crimes and 63 percent for property crimes, and others at 2 percent for both violent crimes and property crimes.
A more thorough discussion of racial disproportionality and possible reasons for it appears in Chapter 6. The concern in recent years over juvenile crime has centered on violent crime. Indeed, it appears that there was a significant upswing in violence among juveniles and adults. As can be seen in Figure , beginning in the mid- to late s, there was a large increase in arrests for violent crimes not only among juveniles to year-olds , but also among adults ages 18 to 24 and 25 to Arrests for violent crimes of those 35 and older also increased, but more gradually and not nearly as much as for the younger groups.
Since the mids, arrest rates for violent crimes have dropped dramatically for all age groups and are approaching the rates of the early s. Note that for federal data collection purposes, Hispanic is not considered to be a race, but rather an ethnicity.
Hispanics are included in both black and white counts. The UCR do not provide data by race for individual ages, but rather for those under 18 and for those 18 and older. Victim reports of violent crimes in which the perpetrator was thought to be under the age of 18 show somewhat different trends, although both indicate increases beginning in the late s through the early s and declines at the end of the century.
The juvenile violent crime rate based on victim reports remained fairly flat from to , then increased between and see Figure By , when arrest rates according to the FBI were close to their peak, the victimization rate had returned to the level of the rate. Victim reports of serious violent crimes by adults, however, show a fairly steady decline, dropping and staying below rates since , with an increase almost back to levels in , then dropping again.
Victim reports indicate a much higher rate of violent offending by young people and by adults than do arrest rates. Self-reports of violent behavior by juveniles produce even higher rates of offending, but the questions used in such surveys as Monitoring the Future 4 may measure less serious behavior than that which results in arrest or victim reports.
For example, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which interviewed a representative sample of 9, youngsters between the ages of 12 and 16 in , found a prior-year assault rate of 12, per , Snyder and Sickmund, The samples in the two surveys are different, with Moni-. Monitoring the Future is an annual school-based survey of high school seniors that has been conducted since The differences in both the samples and questions may account for the difference in reported rates.
Violence encompasses a wide range of acts, from the threat of harm to assault and homicide. It is instructive to look separately at the various offenses that make up the FBI violence index. Figure shows the arrest rates by age group for the violent crimes of homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault the four crimes that make up the FBI violent crime index since Note that the scales on the y-axes differ for each offense. There are distinctly different patterns for each of the violent index crimes.
Arrest rates for juveniles are lower than the rates for to year-olds for all four violent crimes and lower than the rates for to year-olds for homicide, rape, and aggravated assault. Figure shows the change in arrest rates for the violent index crimes since by age group. The increase in arrests of to year-olds for violent crimes is most pronounced in arrests for aggravated assault and homicide.
Arrests for aggravated assault peaked in at 3. Rape and robbery increased less, peaking at 1. The increase in juvenile arrest rates for homicide and aggravated assault was not only larger than for rape and robbery, but also much larger among juveniles than among the older age groups.
Thus, although juvenile arrest rates for each of the violent crimes were lower than rates for to year-olds throughout the period, the increase in arrest rates for to year-olds was greater than the increase for to year-olds for both homicide and aggravated assault. Homicide arrest rates for to year-olds and to year-olds rose sharply beginning in the mids, peaked in , and then began to decline steeply see Figure The homicide arrest rates for to year-olds paralleled rates for the younger groups until the mids, after which the older group's rates gradually declined.
Data sources other than arrest statistics are available for studying homicide, and those sources may be somewhat more accurate than arrest data. Recently, 8th and 10th grade samples were added to Monitoring the Future. We have used only the 12th grade sample to have the longer time trend. The FBI receives these data on about 80 to 90 percent of all known homicides. Information from medical examiners ' reports is compiled each year for all known homicides.
Although the NCHS data do not provide information on the perpetrators, the data serve as a useful check on the number of homicides. Using Supplemental Homicide Reports data, corrected for underreporting by information from NCHS, Cook and Laub analyzed homicide commission and victimization rates for to year-olds and to year-olds.
They found that victimization and commission rates for both age groups followed similar trends, increasing rapidly in the late s, and beginning to decrease in the early s. The pattern of homicide commission for these younger age groups differed from those over 25, for whom homicide commission rates were declining as the younger groups experienced a sharp increase.
Rates for young adults to year-olds were higher than rates for adolescents to year-olds or for older groups. Within the adolescent group, homicide commission varied by age. The number and rate of homicide offenders known to the police are consistently higher for older teenagers than for younger ones Figure The peak in homicides in the early s was also greatest for older adolescents.
The increase in homicide victimization and commission was particularly pronounced among young black males. Cook and Laub note that the increase in the black juvenile homicide rate began about three years earlier than that of white juveniles, and it was greater both proportionally and in absolute count. Homicides by juveniles were also concentrated geographically, with one-quarter of known juvenile offenders in coming from just five counties—those containing Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, and New York City.
The vast majority of counties 84 percent in reported no known juvenile homicide offenders Sickmund et al. The increase in homicide rates among juveniles from the late s through the early s was entirely due to an increase in homicides committed with firearms by adolescents see Figure Similarly, the declining homicide rate since the mids seems to involve primarily handgun-related homicides Blumstein and Rosenfeld, Some researchers have argued that if the increase in homicides and other violence by young people was due to an increased viciousness or amorality among them, then there should have been an increase in homicide rates for all weapons, not just guns, and an increase in all crimes, not just.
The fact that the increase in homicides was confined to those committed with guns and that property crimes did not increase in the same way that violent crimes did argues against the explanation of increasingly vicious young people. Blumstein argues that the homicide increase was a result of the introduction of crack cocaine markets, particularly in inner cities, in the mids. These drug markets used children and adolescents as sellers.
Because of the nature of the drug trade, these sellers were well armed. Other young people in their neighborhoods began carrying guns out of a perceived need for protection. Since guns are more deadly than other weapons, conflicts among young people became more deadly. Fagan and Wilkinson argue that Blumstein's explanation relies on indirect measures and provides no direct evidence of a causal link. The extent to which homicides committed by adolescents are related to drug selling remains unknown.
Qualitative studies suggest that adolescent violence in recent years involves material goods or personal slights and may be unrelated or only tangentially related to drugs Anderson, ; Canada, , Wilkinson and Fagan, Levitt analyzed relative incarceration rates and violent crime rates for juveniles and adults.
The results of his analysis suggest that 60 percent of the larger increase in violence among juveniles compared with adults was accounted for by the relative lenience of juvenile sanctions compared with adult sanctions, which had gotten much harsher during the s. Whether as a result of drug markets or not, a number of sources point to increased possession of guns by juveniles beginning in the mid-to late s.
Arrests for weapons offenses among adolescents doubled between and Greenfeld and Zawitz, The percentage of adoles-. Ethnographic reports also indicate that gun possession by young people has increased, but there is little information about how those guns were obtained Fagan and Wilkinson, The decrease in homicides by young people has also been entirely a decrease in homicides committed with handguns.
Blumstein and Rosenfeld suggest several possible explanations for the decrease. First, the crack market began to mature, reducing disputes over territorial control, and the crack epidemic, which spurred the arming of many innercity juveniles, began to abate in the early s.
These changes led to less need for juveniles to carry guns. Second, the economic expansion of the mid- and late s may have played a part in moving young people into legitimate jobs. At the same time, police crackdowns on drug markets may have limited the opportunities for revenue from illegal activities, increasing the likelihood of taking the more available legal jobs. Finally, the high rate of incarceration of drug offenders may have had an impact on homicide rates, although Blumstein and Rosenfeld point out that it is unlikely to have played a major role for young offenders.
The argument that juveniles' access to guns influenced the homicide rate is buttressed by the similar role that gun availability played in juvenile suicide rates Kachur et al. The suicide rate increased from to by percent for children ages 10 to 14 and by 27 percent for adolescents ages 15 to As Table shows, the increase in suicides among black adolescents ages 15 to 19 almost entirely involved suicides committed with firearms.
Males, both black and white, had a higher rate of firearm suicides than females. At approximately the same time that homicide rates began dropping, so did firearm-related suicides. In fact, the decrease in firearm-related suicides accounted for all the suicide decrease in this age group between and Just as the proliferation of firearms appears to have played a part in making violence by young people more deadly, so, too, the use of firearms in suicide attempts is much more likely to result in death than the use of other means.
In a study of suicides in one state, Hopkins et al. Males appear to be more likely to use firearms in suicide attempts than females. This may account for their high rate of completed suicides compared with females, in spite of females' much higher rate of suicide attempts.
Interestingly, the rates of homicides by juveniles in Canada, although much lower than the rate in the United States, followed a similar pattern of rising in the mid- to late s and declining in the early s. In Canada, handgun use did not play a part in the increase or decrease in homicide rates Hagan and Foster, Thus a satisfactory explanation. Current information is insufficient to explain either the causes of the growth in homicide and other violent acts or their decline in the past few years.
Self-report data by young people for some offenses show less change since the early s than arrest data. Figure shows the change in UCR-reported arrest for aggravated and other assaults compared with two self-reported items from the Monitoring the Future survey. Young people's self-reports of engaging in serious fighting are relatively flat from to ; self-reports of injuring someone badly enough to need bandages or a doctor rose somewhat beginning in and in were 27 percent higher than in Aggravated assault arrests, in contrast, began rising above levels in and reached a peak in that was 2.
Arrests for other assaults have been steadily increasing since It should be noted that official reports of assault are influenced by police policies and discretion. Aggravated assaults represent a heterogeneous set of acts, from threatening with a weapon with no resulting injury. Source: Arrest data from Federal Bureau of Investigation ; self-report data from Maguire and Pastore From the official arrest statistics it is impossible to ascertain what percentage of aggravated assaults falls at the less serious end of the offense category, in contrast to the percentage that is very serious.
How assaults are counted and classified is essentially a matter of police discretion. There is considerable circumstantial evidence from a number of sources that indicates that a changing police threshold for charging aggravated assault was responsible for the increase in aggravated assault arrests during the s Zimring, The patterns of arrests for aggravated assault of to year-olds and to year-olds from to are nearly identical, but the two groups' homicide arrest patterns were very different, with the older group's homicide arrest rates declining at the same time the younger groups was growing rapidly.
If the rate of aggravated assaults was really increasing, Zimring argues, the older groups' homicide rates should have also increased. Arrests for simple assaults increased for both age groups over this same time, consistent with increased police willingness to arrest for assault.
Victim reports of assault and self-reports of serious fighting were both much more stable than the arrest rate over this time period. An increased willingness to arrest juveniles may also account for the increase in arrests for other assaults.
Property crimes make up the majority of juvenile offending. In contrast to the trends for violent crimes, index property crime arrest rates have remained fairly constant for juveniles. Victims report a 60 percent decrease in all property crimes between and Because there is no victim report information on perpetrators of property crimes, it is impossible to tell whether the decline was attributable to a decrease in offenses by juveniles, by adults, or by both.
Self-report trends on property crimes by juveniles vary depending on type of behavior. Figure compares several self-reported property offenses to arrest rates for juveniles. In contrast to the stability in arrest rates, self-reports of other property crimes by juveniles have increased. Since the rate of damaging school property has been 10 to 20 percent higher than the rate. Taking a car without permission has fluctuated a good deal since , but has been consistently higher than the rate. Just as with the index violent crimes, arrest rates for the index property crimes vary from one another see Figure Arrest rates for to year-olds are higher than rates for other age groups for all four index property offenses.
Arrest rates for burglary have been dropping since the early s for both to year-olds and to year-olds and by. FIGURE Change since in property arrest rates of to year-olds compared to self-reported property offense rates by high school seniors and victim reports of property offenses for all ages. For older groups, the burglary arrest rate began increasing in the early s and remained nearly 60 percent higher than in for those 35 and older.
As can be seen in Figures and , although the property arrest rates are higher for to year-olds and to year-olds, the increase in the arrest rate has been larger among to year-olds and those 35 and older. A category of offenses that affects only juveniles is status offenses — acts that are considered unlawful only because of the age of the offender. The status offenses for which arrest data are available include curfew violations, running away, liquor law violations, and weapons possession.
Figure shows the change in arrest rates relative to rates for these four status offenses. Starting with the mids through , arrest rates for curfew violations and running away were consistently 20 to 40 percent below the rates. Because one of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of was the deinstitutionalization of status offenders, in order to receive federal juvenile justice funding, states could no longer keep status offenders in secure detention facilities.
Although the decline in status offense arrests began prior to the passage of the act, it is possible that the act reinforced the trend away from arresting juveniles for status offenses. The public discussions prior to the passage of the act may have also encouraged states to begin changing their policies regarding status offense arrests in anticipation of the federal law.
In , arrests for curfew violations begin increasing and by had reached a level 50 percent higher than their rate. With the increase in concern over juvenile violence in the late s and early s, curfews gained popularity in various locales around the country. The emphasis on curfews as a way to curb juvenile crime could explain the sudden increase in curfew violation arrests beginning around The increase in curfew arrests began the year following the increase in drug arrests of juveniles see Figure and both peaked in the same year.
Police efforts to curb drugs may have emphasized keeping young people off streets through more strict enforcement of curfew laws. More detailed analyses perhaps using time series , which were beyond the panel's resources, would be necessary to determine the effects of the fed. Girls have consistently had a higher rate of arrest for running away than have boys. For example, in , the rate of runaway arrests for girls ages 10 to 17 was per , compared with per , for boys. Studies of runaways, however, have found that boys and girls are about equally likely to run away Finkelhor et al.
The availability of data on self-reported drug use provides an interesting comparison to arrest data for drug offenses. National surveys of high school students—in particular, Monitoring the Future—have collected information on self-reported drug use since the mids. As Figure shows, arrest rates for drug offenses rose in the late s at the same time as self-reported illicit drug use for both marijuana and other illicit drugs continued to decline.
Use began rising again in , but still remained lower than the rates in the late s. Arrest rates for drug offenses, however, dramatically increased beginning in , to a rate in that was 67 percent higher than arrest rates. It should be noted that drug arrests and self-reported drug use may be measuring different activities.
Arrests can be for actions other than drug use, such as possession or sales. Drug use and drug sales may be correlated, however Huizinga and Jakob-Chien, UCR published data do not specify the type of drug or the type of activity for which the arrest was made and the national self-report surveys, such as Monitoring the Future and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, do not ask about involvement in drug sales.
Although rates and trends of drug arrests were similar for both blacks and whites prior to , whites were more likely than blacks to be arrested for drug offenses. Since , arrests of blacks for drug offenses have soared. Were one to use arrest data alone, it could be concluded that there has been an explosion of drug use among black juveniles since the late s.
This conclusion is not borne out by self-reported drug use data. In fact, black 8th, 10th, and 12th graders consistently report lower use of all illegal drugs than is reported by white students Johnston et al. As with most offenses, boys are more likely to be arrested for drug offenses than are girls. Since the early s, the drug arrest rate for male adolescents has been between 5 and 6 times higher than that for girls.
Although males report higher drug use than females, the differences are much smaller than arrest rates would indicate. For example, in , Past-year cocaine use was reported by 6. Yet boys were arrested more than 6 times as often as girls for drug offenses in If drug use by boys is more frequent or done in more public places than drug use by girls, boys could be more likely to be arrested. It is obvious that the arrest rates for drug offenses do not reflect drug use as reported by young people, whether one looks at young people in the aggregate or by race or sex.
Drug offenses exemplify the need for caution when using any single data source as an indicator of offense rate. The study of delinquency and juvenile crime has historically focused on males in spite of the fact that girls account for about one-quarter of all juvenile arrests Chesney-Lind, Of the 2.
As a proportion of juveniles arrested, the number of girls has increased since , when they accounted for 20 percent of all arrests of those under 18 Snyder, b. Prior to , the FBI did not record arrests by sex and age, so national data on arrests of adolescent girls before the s are not available.
Arrests of girls for both property crimes and violent crimes have increased over the past two decades see Figure For violent crime, the arrest rate of young females increased more than that of young males— percent between and compared with 60 percent for males. In , the young male violent arrest rate was just under 20 percent higher than in , but the young female rate was about 90 percent above the rate Snyder and Sickmund, Nevertheless, of all reported juvenile arrests in , only 2.
The types of offenses for which girls are arrested differ from the types for which boys are arrested. Table presents the five most frequent offenses for which boys and girls were arrested in , , and In fact, running. Source: Snyder b. Boys have consistently higher arrest rates than girls for all crimes except for prostitution and running away. In , boys and girls were arrested for index violent crimes at a rate of per , and per ,, respectively and for index property crimes at a rate of 2, per , and 1, per ,, respectively.
For example, in , 21 percent of male high school seniors reported having been in a serious fight within the past 12 months, compared with 11 percent of female high school seniors Bureau of Justice Statistics, This ratio for self-reports of serious fighting compares to a boy to girl ratio for simple assault arrests.
For more serious assaults, arrests and self-report data are more similar. The ratio of. Arrest rates by sex calculated from UCR data by committee staff with the methodology used by Snyder b. The differences between male and female self-reports of offending have remained fairly constant since the early s Bureau of Justice Statistics, The increase in arrest rates of girls for index crimes, however, was greater than that of boys.
This increase may be due as much to a change in police behavior toward girls as to a change in girls' behavior Chesney-Lind and Shelden, How much crime will there be in the United States in the next 5 or 10 years? Will crime rates go up or down or remain about the same? Since juvenile crime is often an indication of crime problems to come, how many juvenile offenses will there be? Will the number of juvenile serious violent offenders or homicide perpetrators increase?
What will be the resulting demands on the juvenile and the criminal justice systems? Will trends in juvenile crime influence trends in adult crime? Over the past three decades, criminologists have made a number of attempts to address. Appendix B is a more complete and technical discussion of forecasting trends in juvenile crime. These attempts have usually taken the form of efforts to explain past variations or to project future levels of crime by applying techniques of demographic and statistical analysis.
Such analyses may be useful exercises with respect to explanation of past experiences in the ups and downs of observed crime or to the projection of recent trends in order to anticipate resources that will be needed in the near future by the juvenile and the criminal justice systems. Users of such analyses must be aware, however, that all projections are fraught with uncertainty, and the farther into the future the projection is made, the more uncertainty there is.
A review of several existing contributions to the crime forecasting literature suggests that these forecasts are heavily influenced by trends in crime rates in the years just prior to the period for which the forecasts are made. For example, based on crime rates in the early s and anticipated decreases in the population at high risk of committing crimes i.
Using a different methodology, other researchers also predicted falling rates of violent crime during the s Cohen and Land, ; Fox, with a gradual increase in the s Fox, or in the s Cohen and Land, None of these predictions was borne out—the juvenile population did not behave as expected in the projections. Similarly, forecasts based on the sudden rise in juvenile violent crime in the mids to early s also proved incorrect.
Shortly before violent crime rates dramatically decreased, Bennett et al. To the extent that crime forecasts are meant to represent likely paths that crime rates may take, they should attempt to minimize, or at least be cognizant of, the effects of continuity bias—that is, the assumption that the current patterns will continue—on the forecasts. Uncertainty can be built into crime forecasts by adapting and applying the high-, medium-, and low-scenarios approach widely employed in demography.
By using high-low projection cones the range of predictions between the low and high scenario , the scary forecasts of a new wave of juvenile homicide offenders in the first decade of the 21st century, made by some researchers in the mids, are shown to be relatively implausible. Appendix B presents this type of projection with respect to juvenile homicide.
The most likely projection suggests that the numbers of juvenile male homicide offenders will continue to decline during the period to and then increase slightly thereafter to the year However, the possibility that juvenile homicide rates will increase dramatically in the near future also exists and is portrayed by the upper bounds of the projections.
There are two additional implications of the uncertainty in forecasts of crime rates and offenders: the periods over which crime forecasts are made should be as short as possible and the forecasts should be updated frequently. Large-scale social systems have elements of complexity or nonlinear dynamics and uncertainty that militate against the accuracy of long-term forecasts.
In practical terms, this means that forecasting cones upper and lower bounds for enveloping the ranges within which crime is likely to fall with a high probability will grow very rapidly from the base year into the future. To take this into account, the time periods of the forecasts should be relatively short and the forecasts should be revised when new information becomes available.
For most police, court, and penal components of the juvenile and the criminal justice systems, this is not particularly problematic, as forecasts typically are necessary only for one- or two-year government budgeting cycles. Only occasionally are projections more than five years into the future required for budgeting or planning purposes.
Official data to track or monitor crimes committed by juveniles and the justice system responses to juvenile offenders are clearly inadequate. They provide, at best, only a crude measure of perpetrators estimated by victims to be under 18 or of the number of arrests for the various crimes of juveniles under The reporting of crimes known to the police and arrest data is voluntary on the part of local police agencies and states.
Therefore, published FBI annual crime figures are based on different agencies' and states' reports each year, depending on which agencies and states submitted their data on time. Official data are insufficient for studies to determine whether changing arrest rates are related to changes in police policies and practices or to changes in juvenile behavior.
Comparing victim reports and arrest data to juvenile self-reports of behavior improves the situation somewhat. Many self-report studies, however, are conducted with school-based samples, omitting dropouts and truants who may have higher offending rates than children and adolescents who attend school regularly. Although the panel acknowledges the weaknesses in available data, we nevertheless had to rely on currently available data to analyze juvenile crime trends.
Based on our analysis, the panel drew the following conclusions. There was an increase in juvenile homicide beginning in the mids, peaking in the early s, and decreasing in the late s. This increase was not confined to juveniles, however. For example, homicide. Although there are theories about the reasons for the increase and subsequent decrease in homicide, current research is inadequate to completely explain the trends. Some of the rise in other violent crime arrest rates between the mids and early s seems to have been a result of changes in police policies regarding whether to consider specific types of assault as aggravated assaults rather than simple assaults and an increasing willingness to arrest for assault.
Much of the rise in juvenile homicides appears to be linked to an increase in the use of firearms.