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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for murder?
A: Murder arrest rates declined for all age groups between 1980 and 2020.
Note: 2020 was the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities. Additionally, stay-at-home orders likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior that came to the attention of law enforcement in 2020.

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  • Murder arrest rates increased among juveniles and adults younger than age 25 between 1980 and 1993, but the relative increase was greater for juveniles than adults. For example, arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased an average of 151% between 1980 and 2013, compared with an average increase of 100% for young adults ages 18-20 and 37% for those ages 21-24. Murder rates declined 9% for adults ages 25-29, 32% for those ages 30-34, and 38% for those ages 35-39.
  • Between 1993 and 2020, murder arrest rates declined for all age groups and the relative decline was greater for juveniles than young adults. More specifically, murder arrest rates dropped an average of 80% for youth ages 15-17, 70% for young adults ages 18-20, and 58% for young adults ages 21-24. Rates for persons age 25-29 fell 39%, and rates for those ages 30-39 fell 32% between 1993 and 2020.
  • Overall from 1980 to 2020, murder arrest rates declined for all age groups. The rates decreased 45% for adults ages 25-29, 54% for those ages 30-34, 56% for those ages 35-39, and 53% for those ages 40-44. Rates for youth ages 15-17 decreased 48% during this period, while rates for adults ages 18-20 fell 40%, and young adults ages 21-24 fell 47%.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05302.asp?qaDate=2020. Released on July 08, 2022.

Data source: Arrest estimates for 1980-2014 developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through "Arrest Data Analysis Tool." Online. Available from the BJS website.

Arrest estimates for 2020 developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice based on the FBI’s 2020 Arrest Master File of 12-month reporting departments available from the Crime Data Explorer (https://crime-data-explorer.fr.cloud.gov/pages/downloads, retrieved June 14, 2022).


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