Juvenile Arrests 1997
Howard N. Snyder

In 1997, law enforcement agencies in the United States made an estimated 2.8 million arrests of persons under age 18.* According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), juveniles accounted for 19% of all arrests and 17% of all violent crime arrests in 1997. The substantial growth in juvenile violent crime arrests that began in the late 1980's peaked in 1994. In 1997, for the third year in a row, the total number of juvenile arrests for Violent Crime Index offenses -- murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault -- declined. Even with these declines (3% in 1995, 6% in 1996, and 4% in 1997), the number of juvenile Violent Crime Index arrests in 1997 was 49% above the 1988 level. In comparison, the number of adult arrests for a Violent Crime Index offense in 1997 was 19% greater than in 1988.

These findings are derived from data reported annually by local law enforcement agencies across the country to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Based on these data, the FBI prepares its annual Crime in the United States report, which summarizes crimes known to the police and arrests made during the reporting calendar year. This information is used to characterize the extent and nature of juvenile crime that comes to the attention of the justice system. Other recent findings from the UCR Program are:

bullet Of the 2,100 juveniles murdered in 1997, 56% were killed with a firearm.
bullet Juveniles were involved in 14% of all murder and aggravated assault arrests, 37% of burglary arrests, 30% of robbery arrests, and 24% of weapons arrests in 1997.
bullet Juvenile murder arrests increased substantially between 1988 and 1993. In the peak year of 1993, there were about 3,800 juvenile arrests for murder. Between 1993 and 1997, juvenile arrests for murder declined 39%, with the number of arrests in 1997 (2,500) 11% above the 1988 level.
bullet Between 1993 and 1997, juvenile arrests for burglary declined 9% and juvenile arrests for motor vehicle theft declined 30%.
bullet Juveniles were involved in 14% of all drug abuse violation arrests in 1997. Between 1993 and 1997, juvenile arrests for drug abuse violations increased 82%.
bullet Juvenile arrests for curfew and loitering violations increased 87% between 1993 and 1997. In 1997, 28% of curfew arrests involved juveniles under age 15 and 31% involved females.
bullet In 1997, 58% of arrests for running away from home involved females and 41% involved juveniles under age 15.
bullet Arrests of juveniles accounted for 12% of all violent crimes cleared by arrest in 1997 -- specifically, 8% of murders, 11% of forcible rapes, 17% of robberies, and 12% of aggravated assaults.

* Throughout this Bulletin, persons under age 18 are referred to as juveniles. See Notes.

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Juvenile Arrests 1997 Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  December 1998