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Crimes are committed by juvenile offenders every day and to gain a better understanding as to why they commit such crimes the trends have to be evaluated. The following statistics are findings made in 2008. These findings will give a clear understanding of the overall decrease in juvenile arrests made, touch base on the increase in drug offenses and simple assaults, provide implications for juvenile females and members of ethnic and racial minorities, examine the increase in arrests of juvenile females and the decrease in arrests of male juvenile offenders for violent crimes, and assess the tracking of juveniles arrests as a method of measuring the amount of and trends in juvenile crime.
In 2008, there were about 2.11 million juveniles arrested. Overall, there were three percent fewer juvenile arrests in 2008 than in 2007 and violent crime arrests fell two percent. These findings are made by local law enforcement agencies throughout the country who report to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR). From 1990-1997 the juvenile arrest rate for drug abuse violations increased 145%. The rate declined 28% from 1997-2008 but the 2008 rate was 78% more than the 1990 rate. From 1980-1997 the juvenile arrest rate for simple assault increased 156%. This number declined a small amount in 2002 and raised a small amount through 2006.
Following the decline over those two years, the 2008 arrest rate for simple assault was greater than the 1980 rate for most racial groups. In 2008, females accounted for 30% of juvenile arrests. There were a total of 629,800 females under the age of 18 who were arrested in 2008. Racial composition of the U.S. juvenile population ages 10-17 in 2008 was 78% white, 16% black, 5% Asian/Pacific Islander and 1% American Indian with Hispanics being included in the white racial category.
Of all juvenile arrests for violent crimes in 2008, 47% were white/Hispanic, 52% were black, and 1% Asian and 1% were American Indian. Juvenile female arrests increased for simple assault, larceny theft, and DUI while male arrests decreased. “From the mid-1980s to the peak in 1993, the juvenile arrest rate for murder more than doubled. Then, the juvenile arrest rate for murder declined through the mid-2005, reaching a level in 2004 that was 77% less than the 1993 peak. The growth in the juvenile murder arrest rate that began in 2004 was interrupted in 2008 as the rate fell 6% over the past year, resting at a level that was 74% below its 1993 peak.” (Puzzanchera, Charles. 2009. Juvenile Arrests 2008.)
Juveniles have certain protections under the law but the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) allows us to keep track of what crimes, known to the police, and arrests made during the reporting calendar year. Based on the information provided by the UCR, the FBI prepares its annual Crime in the United States statistical compilation. This information is used to provide details on the extent and nature of juvenile crimes and if there are any trends being made. Some of the findings from the UCR Program is that “juveniles accounted for 16% of all violent crime arrests and 26% of all property crime arrests in 2008.”
Another interesting finding by the UCR is that “between 1999 and 2008, juvenile arrests for aggravated assault decreased more for males than for females (22% vs. 17%). During this period, juvenile male arrests for simple assault declined 6% and female arrests increased 12%”. The UCR also found that “the juvenile murder arrest rate in 2008 was 3.8 arrests per 100,000 juveniles ages 10 through 17. This was 17% more than the 2004 low of 3.3, but 74% less than the 1993 peak of 14.4. In 2008, 11% (1,740) of all murder victims were younger than age 18. More than one-third (38%) of all juvenile murder victims were younger than age 5, but this proportion varied widely across demographic groups.” (Puzzanchera, Charles. 2009. Juvenile Arrests 2008.)
The conclusion is simple, the overall juvenile arrests made for violent crimes only fell two percent than the year before and more juvenile females are committing more violent crimes. All of the statistics that were discussed have been analyzed and examined. Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice Professionals should be able to identify and organize these statistics to structure a preventative system within a community to deter such delinquent acts. The UCR reports and findings allow Americans to understand the crime trends within the juvenile justice system.
(Puzzanchera, Charles. 2009. Juvenile Arrests 2008.)