Arrest statistics have been used as the main barometer of juvenile delinquent activity over the past decades. Unfortunately, many juvenile offenses go unreported and thus do not become a part of the national statistical picture. Indeed, many minor offenses committed by juveniles are considered part of growing up and are handled informally rather than by arrest and adjudication. It is critical to get a firm understanding of the range and prevalence of juvenile offending—from minor fights on playgrounds to aggravated assaults involving weapons.
This section draws on a number of national data sources to provide a picture of juvenile offending. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY), the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) all serve to provide important insights into the types of offenses committed by youth and the prevalence of such offenses.
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