Chapter 2: Jurisdictional and Program Self-Assessment
Types of Offenses Committed by Juvenile Offenders

After increasing by 61 percent since 1988, juvenile arrests for violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) peaked in 1994 and have declined each year since. However, current levels of arrests of juveniles committing violent crimes remain well above the 1980's levels. Even though these statistics sound dire, fewer than 0.5 percent of all youth between ages 10 and 17 were arrested for a violent crime in 1998 (Snyder, 1999).

Update of Statistics

The most recent statistical information available at the time of publication was used in this manual. However, readers may want to request updated information for comparison with jurisdictional or program data.The OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book ( provides basic information on juvenile crime and victimization and on youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The data provide timely, reliable, statistical answers to the most frequently asked questions of policymakers, the media, and the general public.

The juvenile percentage of arrests for violent crimes is comparable to the proportion of youth in the population responsible for most crimes, that is, individuals between ages 10 and 49. However, juveniles account for a disproportionately large percentage of property arrests. Figure 2:f graphically shows this comparison.

Figure 2:f Juvenile Percentage of Arrests

Figure 2:g shows the juvenile percentage of arrests in four types of violent crimes in 1998. The robbery percentage is disproportionately large compared with forcible rape, aggravated assault, and murder, which are below the percentage of the population in the 10-49 age group represented by youth (Snyder, 1999).

Figure 2:g Juvenile Percentage of Arrests for Violent Crimes

Figure 2:h depicts the 12 most common nonviolent crimes for which youth are arrested. For nine of those crimes (arson, vandalism, motor vehicle theft, burglary, larceny/theft, disorderly conduct, robbery, liquor law violations, and weapons), the percentage of juvenile arrests exceeds their proportion of the population (Snyder, 1999).

Figure 2:h Juvenile Percentage of Arrests for 12 Nonviolent Offenses

Figure 2:i shows the nine crime categories for which juveniles have the lowest arrest proportions.

Figure 2:i Juvenile Proportion of Arrests for Selected Offenses

In addition to the crimes depicted in Figures 2:g, 2:h, and 2:i, only youth may be arrested for status offenses, such as curfew violations and running away. Arrests for curfew violations have increased in recent years, up 178 percent between 1989 and 1998. Over the same period, arrests for running away have held relatively constant, down only 5 percent (Snyder, 1999).

Chapter 2 Contents

Previous Contents Next

Jurisdictional Technical Assistance Package for Juvenile Corrections Report - December 2000