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Statistical Overviews

Juvenile Crime and Victimization

Note: The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system and the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey do not collect information about crimes committed against persons under twelve years of age and thus do not provide a comprehensive picture of juvenile crime victimization. The FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) includes detailed data about juvenile victims and is designed to replace UCR as the national database for crimes reported to law enforcement.

An analysis of 1997 NIBRS data reveals that while juveniles (youths ages seventeen and younger) make up 26% of the population of the twelve participating NIBRS states, they accounted for 71% of all sex crime victims and 38% of all kidnapping victims. (Finkelhor, D. and R. Ormrod. June 2000. Characteristics of Crimes Against Juveniles. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.)

Girls outnumber boys as victims of sex offenses (82% vs. 18%) and kidnapping (63% vs. 37%), while boys outnumber girls as victims of robbery (81% vs. 19%) and larceny (69% vs. 31%). Overall, boys are somewhat more likely than girls to be victimized (55% vs. 45%). (Ibid.)

Juvenile violent crime is at its lowest level since 1987 and has fallen 30% from 1994 to 1998. The juvenile murder arrest rate has dropped 50% from 1993 to 1998. Other drops include: forcible rape down 25% from 1991 to 1998; aggravated assault down 20% from 1994 to 1998; robbery down 45% from 1995 to 1998; and motor vehicle theft down 39% from 1989 to 1998. (Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention. 1999. "Juvenile Arrests 1998." Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)

In 1999, 17% of all persons arrested nationally were juveniles (ages eighteen and under). (Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 15 October 2000. Crime in the United States, Uniform Crime Reports, 1999. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, 212.)

Nationally, 12% of the total clearances for forcible rape involved only juveniles (persons under the age of eighteen). (Ibid., 25)

Juvenile males are much more likely than females to be victims of serious violent crimes. In 1997, serious violent crime victimization rates were 33 per 1,000 male youth, compared to 21 per 1,000 female youth. (America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. 1999. Washington, DC: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 40.)

In 1997, the serious violent juvenile crime-offending rate was 31 crimes per 1,000 juveniles ages twelve to seventeen years old, or a total of 706,000 such crimes. (Ibid., 41.)

Juveniles are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime in the four hours following the end of the school day (roughly 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) than at any other time of the day. (National Center for Juvenile Justice. September 1999. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 34.)

The 1996 National Youth Gang Survey estimates there were approximately 31,000 gangs operating in 4,800 U.S. cities in 1995. These gangs had more than 846,000 members, half of whom were under the age of eighteen. (Ibid., 77)

Note: OVC makes no representation concerning the accuracy of data from non-Department of Justice sources.


National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Reach for the Stars
April 22-28, 2001
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