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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 170698 Find in a Library
Title: Fact and Fiction About Youth Violence
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:24  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1997)  Pages:52-54,56
Author(s): R Abshire
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews trends in juvenile violent crime over the past two decades, identifies factors that may spawn a new wave of juvenile violence, and suggests ways to prevent and counter juvenile violence.
Abstract: In the mid-1980s a subtly interrelated mix of factors meshed to produce a decade of crisis and an increase in youth violence. From 1985 to 1994, murder arrests for males under the age of 18 increased 158 percent. Over that same period, robbery arrests were up 53 percent, aggravated assault arrests increased almost 90 percent, and total violent crime arrests rose 69 percent. Weapons arrests for males under 18 increased 101 percent in that decade, and drug arrests were up 72 percent. According to reports, juvenile arrest rates for all violent crimes fell in 1995, including the juvenile murder arrest rate and overall crime arrest rates. The murder arrest rate for offenders between 10 and 17 years old declined in 1995 for the second year in a row. A number of experts agree that it is too soon to declare victory in the war against youth violence. Factors that produce youth violence are still strong, including an increase in child abuse, which is related to juvenile violent behavior; a high percentage of juveniles unsupervised in after-school hours until parents come home from work; and a resurgence of drug use among youth. Whether or not these factors will fuel a new wave of youth violence will depend largely on the existence and efforts of newly formed coalitions between police and the communities they serve, on whether they can separate fact from political rhetoric and public perceptions in assessing measures that work, and on whether they have the commitment to continue the fight until it is won. After-school constructive programs for youth, family services, early intervention, and swift accountability for delinquent youth must be part of a winning effort.
Main Term(s): Juvenile crime patterns
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention; Trend analysis; Violence prevention; Violent juvenile offenders
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