This bulletin reports on trends in juvenile (youth younger than age 18) arrests from 1981 through 2017.
The data analyzed are from arrest estimates developed by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Juvenile Justice, based on analyses of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting program. Overall, arrests of juveniles have declined for more than a decade during the period examined, with patterns varying by demographic group and type of offense. Arrests of juveniles peaked in 1996 at nearly 2.7 million. Arrests of juveniles have since declined, with the number in 2017 being 70-percent below the 1996 peak. Over the same period, arrests of adults declined 21 percent. Since 2012, arrests of juveniles for aggravated assault have declined, while the rate of juvenile arrests for robbery stayed about the same; the juvenile arrest rate for murder has increased annually since 2012. By 2017, juvenile arrest rates for property crimes (larceny-theft, burglary, and arson) were at their lowest levels since 1980; however, juvenile arrest rates for motor-vehicle theft increased annually from 2013 through 2017. For older juveniles (ages 15-17), the arrest rate for violent crime was lower than the rate for young adults (ages 18-20 and 21-24) for the period examined. Although the arrest rates for both male and female juveniles have declined during the last 10 years, the declines have been greater for males than for females across many offenses; the arrests of female juveniles has increased since 1980. Arrest rates of juveniles for violent crimes have tended to be significantly higher for Black youth compared to white youth; however, arrest rates of juveniles for liquor-law violations were higher for American-Indian and white youth compared to Black juveniles. Extensive figures and 4 tables