Juvenile Violence Research Studies
In 1992, Congress directed OJJDP to conduct a study of the incidence of violence committed by or against juveniles in urban and rural areas in the United States. The goals were to identify characteristics and patterns of at-risk juveniles and factors that contribute to violence committed by or against juveniles; to determine the accessibility of firearms and the use of firearms by or against juveniles; to determine the conditions associated with an increase in violence committed by or against juveniles; and to develop recommendations for prevention and control of juvenile violence.
To accomplish this task, OJJDP funded four new violence studies:
OJJDP also continued funding three coordinated longitudinal projects, known collectively as the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency. The findings of these seven studies are summarized in Report to Congress on Juvenile Violence Research.6
- Studies of Violence Committed By or Against Juveniles in Washington, DC (Institute for Law and Justice, The Urban Institute, and LINC).
- Juvenile Violence in Los Angeles (Social Sciences Research Institute at the University of Southern California).
- Violence Among Rural Youth (Institute for Families in Society at the University of South Carolina).
- The Milwaukee Homicide Study (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).
Report to Congress on Juvenile Violence Research |
Report highlights include the following:
The overriding message from these studies is that a balanced and comprehensive approach is needed in addressing the problem of juvenile violence. Communities must work with the juvenile justice system to prevent the development of violent behavior and to intervene with violent youth in effective ways. Using precisely this concept, OJJDP's Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders1 provides a framework for strategic responses at the community, city, State, and national levels designed to target the problem of juvenile violence.
- Although juvenile violence is committed primarily by males, females appear to be getting more involved in violent behavior.
- Many violent juvenile offenders live in impoverished neighborhoods, although the majority of youth who live in these communities are not involved in serious delinquency.
- Several studies found that patterns of juvenile violence are inconsistent across cities. Contrary to findings from other studies that most juvenile violent crime takes place after school, juvenile homicides in Los Angeles occurred more often late at night and in public places and frequently involved gang members.
- In Washington, D.C., victimization patterns differed throughout the year. During the summer, juveniles were most vulnerable to crime after 11 p.m., whereas during the school year, the most vulnerable period was between 3 and 5 p.m.
- Although the majority of youth in high-risk neighborhoods are not involved in gangs, the Los Angeles survey found that 36 percent reported pressure on neighborhood youth to join gangs. Those who had been gang members at some time reported becoming full members at age 13.
For a copy of the Report to Congress, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736.
1J.C. Howell, ed., 1995, Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
6Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1999, Report to Congress on Juvenile Violence Research, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
|OJJDP Research: Making a Difference for Juveniles