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Juveniles as Victims
Violent Crime Victimization
Q: How can homicide victimization age trends be summarized?
A: The landscape of murder shows peaks for young adults killed by young adults and for infants killed by adults.
Homicide victims by age of victim and age of offender, 1980-1997

Note: The age of the oldest offender is used in multiple-offender homicides.
  • At the point of greatest risk (the top of the highest peak), are 19- and 20-year-olds killing 19- and 20- year-olds.
  • The contours of the surface reveal some attributes of murder in the U.S.
  • The large central peak indicates that most offenders are between ages 18 and 34, as are their victims. The smaller peak off to the left indicates that many very young children are killed by persons in their twenties and thirties–mostly incidents of infants being killed by their parents.
  • The diagonal ridge running from the top of the central peak to the lower right-hand corner shows that adult offenders tend to kill victims in their own age group. The ridge running along the line of 20-year-old offenders shows that older juveniles and young adults kill victims in a wide age range.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/victims/qa02303.asp?qaDate=19990930. Released on September 30, 1999.

Adapted from Snyder, H. & Sickmund, M. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report, p. 22. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1999.

Data Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Supplementary Homicide Reports for the years 1980–1997 [machine-readable data files]. Washington, D.C.: FBI.


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