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Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for aggravated assault?
A: Compared with 1980, aggravated assault arrest rates in 2020 were lower for juveniles and young adults through age 25 but higher for all other adult age groups.
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.
  • The peak year for juvenile aggravated assault arrest rates was 1994. Between 1980 and 1994, arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased an average of 122%. The rates also increased substantially for 18- (103%) and 19- (85%) year-olds as well as adults age 25-39. More specifically, the rates increased 82% for adults ages 25-29, 105% for adults ages 30-34 and 89% for those ages 35-39.
  • Between 1994 and 2020, aggravated assault arrest rates declined for persons under age 24, and the declines were greater for juveniles than for adults. More specifically, the rates dropped an average of 80% for youth ages 15-17, compared with 65% for young adults ages 18-20, and 49% for those ages 21-24. Rates for adults ages 25-29 fell 35%, and 24% for those ages 30-39 during this period.
  • Overall, aggravated assault arrest rates in 2020 for youth ages 15-17 were below (55%) 1980 levels, as were the rates for young adults under age 24. In comparison, the rates increased for adults age 25 and older: up 18% for adults ages 25-29, 49% for adults ages 30-39, 42% for adults ages 40-49, and 71% for those ages 50 and older.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05303.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).