Juvenile Crime and Delinquency
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, juveniles accounted for 17% of all arrests and 16% of all violent crime arrests in 1999, the most recently reported year. 1 Nationally, between 1995 and 1999, the juvenile arrest rate for Violent Crime Index offenses fell 23%, compared to a 12% reduction in the adult rate. 2 The number of juvenile arrests in 1999 was the lowest since 1988 for all Violent Crime Index offenses combined, and the lowest since 1984 for murder, 1983 for forcible rape, and 1991 for aggravated assault; the number of juvenile arrests for robbery in 1999 was lower than in any year since at least the early 1970s. 3
While the rate of juvenile arrests for murder and aggravated assaults increased somewhat in the 1990s, the consistently sharp declines in the juvenile murder arrest rate from 1993 to 1999 have returned the rate to its 1984 level, negating all of the increases that stimulated so many changes in juvenile justice policy in the 1990s. 4 Juveniles do not account for most violent crime. Arson is the only crime where juveniles are the majority of arrestees. In terms of murder and other major violent crimes, juveniles are not markedly overrepresented in relation to their percentage of the general population. Table 10A presents Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “clearance data” more accurate arrest rates, which correct for precharge releases.