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Youth Arrests For Violent Crime Reached New Low In Pandemic

Violent crime arrests involving youth have been on the decline, says a new report from the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and National Institute of Justice. The estimated number of youth arrests for violent crime, including murder, robbery, and aggravated assault, has declined since the mid-2000s. By 2020, the number of violent crime arrests involving youth reached a new low, 78 percent below the 1994 peak, and half the number 10 years earlier. Males accounted for 80 percent of all youth arrests for violent crimes in 2020, but their share of murder (92 percent) and robbery (88 percent) arrests was much greater. Youth 16 and17 accounted for more than half of youth arrests for violent crime, but accounted for 76 percent of all youth arrests for murder.


White youth accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of all youth arrests for violent crime and 57 percent of youth arrests for aggravated assault. Eight percent of in youth arrests in 2020 involved a violent crime. There were 424,300 arrests involving persons younger than 18—38 percent fewer than the number of arrests in 2019, and half the number of arrests five years earlier. Fewer than one in 10 of arrests were for a violent crime. Aggravated assault accounted for five percent of youth arrests in 2020, robbery accounted for three percent and murder accounted for one-fourth of one percent. The number of youth arrests for violent crimes has declined 67 percent since 2006 . The proportion of violent crime arrests involving youth has declined in recent years in each offense category. Youth accounted for a smaller proportion of arrests for murder, robbery, and aggravated assault in 2020 than in 2010. Overall, the youth proportion of violent crime arrests fell from 14 percent in 2010 to 7 percent in 2020. Criminologist Thomas Abt said on Twitter that, "An enduring myth about community gun violence is that it is primarily driven by youths under 18. Again and again, when we carefully analyze who the shooters are ... we find that most are in their twenties, or even thirties."

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