Juveniles, even juvenile gang members, are most likely to commit violent crimes after school


Juveniles are more likely to commit violent crimes on school days than on nonschool days

About half of the days in a year are school days. The other days fall in summer months, on weekends, and on holidays. Even though school days are half of all days, 57% of violent crimes committed by juveniles occur on school days. In fact, data from the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) show that 1 in 5 violent crimes committed by juveniles occur in the four hours following the end of the school day (i.e., between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.).

On nonschool days the incidence of juvenile violence increases through the afternoon and early evening hours, peaking between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Temporal patterns of adult violence do not vary between school and nonschool days. Adult violence increases through the afternoon and evening hours, peaking around 11 p.m.


Similar time-of-day trends are found for juvenile gang crime

Intervention programs to reduce juvenile violence often target juveniles in gangs, while after-school programs may be apprpriate for the general delinquency population. The temporal patterns of juvenile gang behavior may differ from those of other juvenile offenders.

This notion has been explored by researchers at the University of California-Irvine. In 1994 and 1995 law enforcement agencies across Orange County, California (a county neighboring Los Angeles) reported each incident of gang activity to the Univer-sity's Focused Research Group on Orange County Street Gangs. A large number of these incidents involve an arrest and, therefore, can be tagged to a juvenile or an adult.

A study of the gang incidents involving juveniles shows similar temporal patterns to those found in the NIBRS data. In Orange County in 1994 and 1995, gang activity involving juveniles was most prevalent on school days, with 60% of all juvenile gang incidents occurring on these days. As with the NIBRS data, juvenile gang crime peaked on these days immediately after school. Unlike the general juvenile violence trends found in the NIBRS data, though, the level of juvenile gang violence did not decline as rapidly during evening hours.

Previous Contents Next

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1997 Update on Violence