Banner 2002
   J. Robert Flores, Administrator
October 2002  
Trends in Juvenile Violent Offending: An Analysis of Victim Survey Data

James P. Lynch

Introduction

Trends in Arrest Rates From the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports

Limitations of Police- and Offender-Based Data Sources

Trends in Offending Rates From the National Crime Victimization Survey

Comparing UCR and NCVS Estimates of Offending Rates

Conclusion

Endnotes

References

Related Online OJJDP Publications

NCJ 191052


This paper was prepared with funds provided to the National Center for Juvenile Justice by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to support its National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Project (1999–JN–FX–K002).

Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

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A Message From OJJDP

The fact that our assessment of current trends in juvenile offending is based largely on arrest data reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by local law enforcement agencies raises a fundamental question about the capacity of such data to provide an accurate and comprehensive picture of the myriad challenges that face today's youth and our society.

The information that this Bulletin offers on trends in juvenile violent offending over the past two decades, however, comes from a different source: the victims of those offenses.

Thus, unlike the data derived from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, which drive traditional assessments, the information provided by the National Crime Victimization Survey—and featured in these pages—is not limited to cases that come to the attention of local law enforcement officials, primarily through arrests.

By comparing the pictures of trends in juvenile violent offending that these diverse data sources provide, we can begin to answer the critical question posed above and to determine whether our present understanding of juvenile offending accurately reflects the nature of those crimes—and not merely the nature of its origins.

Accordingly, it is our hope that examining information from a variety of sources about a variety of activities related to juvenile offending will better equip us to prevent and combat such delinquent acts.

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Acknowledgments

James P. Lynch is a Professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University.

  
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