Age of Youth|
Of all delinquency cases processed by the Nation's juvenile courts in 1996, 59% involved a juvenile younger than 16. These younger juveniles were involved in 64% of person offense cases, 62% of property offense cases, 54% of public order offense cases, and 42% of drug law violations. Compared with those of older juveniles (16 and older), the caseloads of younger juveniles involved a smaller proportion of drug law violations and public order offenses, but somewhat larger proportions of person offenses and property offenses (table 3).3
Delinquency case rates generally increase with the age of the juvenile (figure 2). For example, the delinquency case rate for 15-year-olds in 1996 was 36% higher than the rate for 14-year-olds. Similarly, the case rate for 16-year-olds was 18% greater than that for 15-year-olds. The case rate for 17-year-olds was an exception to this pattern, as it was 1% lower than the rate for 16-year-olds.