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Trends in Juvenile Violent Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
Statistics on recent trends in juvenile delinquency and patterns of juvenile violence show juvenile arrest rates for violent crime have been decreasing since 1994, although the rates have not returned to the lower level of the early and mid-1980's.

In 1987, 53 percent of juvenile delinquency cases were handled informally in juvenile courts, compared to 44 percent in 1996. Crimes against the person comprised 22 percent of the juvenile delinquency caseload in 1996, compared to 16 percent in 1987. Drug cases also increased substantially over time, rising from 71,200 in 1987 to 176,300 in 1996. The most frequent juvenile court disposition was probation during the 1987-1996 period. In 1996, 306,900 juveniles were placed on probation, representing over half of all adjudications for juvenile delinquency cases. Of those adjudicated delinquent in 1996, 28 percent received a residential placement. Between 1992 and 1997, about half of States experienced increases in juvenile violent crime arrest rates, while the other half showed decreases. After peaking in 1994 at 528 arrests per 100,000 juveniles, arrests for total violent crime dropped by 23 percent, ending in an arrest rate of 407 arrests per 100,000 juveniles in 1997. The proportion of juvenile homicides involving firearms increased sharply between the late 1980's to a high of 76 percent in 1994 before dropping in 1995. Violent crimes committed by juveniles on school days peaked at 3:00 p.m. and remained high between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. The total juvenile crime rate in schools declined by 34 percent between 1993 and 1997, and serious violent crime in schools dropped by 38 percent between 1994 and 1997. 1 table and 8 figures

Date Published: February 1, 2000