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NCJ Number: 200053 Find in a Library
Title: Serious Youth Gun Offenders and the Epidemic of Youth Violence in Boston
Journal: Journal of Quantitative Criminology  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:March 2003  Pages:33-54
Author(s): Anthony A. Braga
Date Published: March 2003
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
New York, NY 10020
Grant Number: 95-6-12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study analyzed criminal history data for youth arrested for gun offenses in Boston in the late 1980's and early 1990's (a period of sudden increase in youth homicides) to determine whether the criminal profiles of these youth changed over time; micro-level data on youth gun-assault incidents were also examined to determine whether there were significant changes in the nature of these violent events over time.
Abstract: Criminal history information was obtained on gun-assault and gun-possession offenders, ages 24 and under, who were arrested between 1984 and 1995. A random sample, stratified by year, of 30 youth gun-assault offenders and 30 youth gun-possession offenders per year was selected; the final sample was composed of 720 individuals for the 12-year period. Over this time period, the percentage of arrested youth gun offenders with a criminal record increased, along with the average number of prior arraignments per arrested youth gun offender. The simple trend analyses and the more rigorous negative binomial regression models indicated that youth gun offending in Boston was concentrated among more serious youth gun offenders over the course of the youth violence epidemic in Boston. To determine whether there were noteworthy changes in the nature of these violent events, data on youth gun-assault incidents for youth ages 24 and under were examined for 3 years that represented distinct periods in Boston's youth homicide epidemic: 1987, 1990, and 1995. Over these 3 years, gun incidents were increasingly public and lethal. Overall, these findings indicate that Boston youth gun violence during the late 1980's and early 1990's was highly concentrated among serious juvenile offenders who carried high capacity semiautomatic pistols that were used in an increasingly public and deadly way. This suggests that the increase in the prevalence and lethality of gun violence by youth during this period was related to the concentration of the crack cocaine epidemic in urban areas of Boston that were experiencing an increase in the street drug trade, gangs, and criminally active youth. There was no indication that gun possession and use among youth spread beyond these urban areas. 4 tables, 5 figures, and 38 references
Main Term(s): Violent juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Juvenile gun ownership; Massachusetts; Trend analysis; Violence causes
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