Juvenile arrests disproportionately involved minorities

The racial composition of the juvenile population in 1997 was approximately 80% white, 15% black, and 5% other races, with juveniles of Hispanic ethnicity being classified as white. In 1997, in contrast to the proportions in the general population, 53% of juvenile arrests for violent crimes involved white youth and 44% involved black youth.

Most Serious Offense
White Proportion of
Juvenile Arrests in 1997
Murder   40%
Forcible rape   56
Robbery   42
Aggravated assault   60
Burglary   73
Larceny-theft   70
Motor vehicle theft   59
Weapons   64
Drug abuse violations   64
Curfew and loitering   75
Runaways   77
Data source: Crime in the United States 1997, table 43.

The growth in juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rates between 1987 and 1994 was far greater for females than for males, while the decline in rates after 1994 was less for females than males


bullet Between 1981 and 1994, the female violent crime arrest rate increased twice as much as the male rate (130% vs. 64%). Even with the recent declines, the female violent crime arrest rate in 1997 was 103% above the 1981 rate, while the male arrest rate was 27% above its 1981 level.
bullet Even with the large increase in female rates, the 1997 Violent Crime Index arrest rate for juvenile males was five times the female arrest rate.

Data source: Analysis of arrest data from the FBI and population data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. [See data source note 1 for detail.]

Blue Line
Juvenile Arrests 1997 Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  December 1998