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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77258 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Preliminary Assessment of Arson and the Juvenile Justice System
Author(s): C P Smith
Corporate Author: American Justice Institute
National Juvenile Justice System Assessment Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: American Justice Institute
Sacramento, CA 95814
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report contains the results of a preliminary assessment made by the National Juvenile Justice System Assessment Center (NJJSAC) on the characteristics of arson incidents and juvenile arsonists.
Abstract: The assessment was limited to information available in the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 1977 and a draft report on serious juvenile crime completed by the NJJSAC in December 1978. The UCR reflects an age distinction of all persons under 18 as juveniles. Data analysis reveals that the incidence of arson is increasing. Arson is also becoming more of an adult crime. The frequency of reported arrests for the crime of arson shows an increase of 38 percent in 1977, with 8,775 arrests reported, as compared to 6,369 arrests reported in 1968. There was an 89 percent increase in arrests of adult arsonists and an 11 percent increase in arrests for juvenile arsonists during the period 1968 through 1977. The Juvenile arsonist is primarily male, young, white, and urban. Males accounted for 90 percent of the 1977 arrests for persons under age 18 as compared to females, who accounted for 10 percent of the total arrests for arson. Arson is not generally classified as a serious crime in most States. Of the 280,703 crimes identified by the National Institute of Education on school campuses during a 5-month period in 1974-75, 2 percent involved arson. Of these arson offenses, 38 percent were committed in cities, 47 percent were committed in suburbs, and 15 percent were committed in rural areas. Also, juveniles tend to be handled with more formal dispositions when arrested for arson. Of the 2,180 juveniles formally charged with arson during 1977, 56 percent were referred to juvenile court, 19 percent were acquitted or dismissed, 21 percent were found guilty of the offense charged, and 4 percent were deemed guilty of a lesser offense. Six references are provided.
Index Term(s): Arson; Arsonists; Data analysis; FBI Uniform Crime Reports; Juvenile arrest statistics; Juvenile Delinquent behavior; Juvenile fire setters; Juvenile offender statistics
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