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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for simple assault?
A: Simple assault arrest rates in 2020 were higher than the rates in 1980 for all juvenile age groups, and for adults ages 21 and older.
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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  • The peak year for juvenile simple assault arrest rates was 1997. Between 1980 and 1997, arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased an average of 165%. The rates also increased substantially for adults in their thirties. More specifically, the rates increased 208% for adults ages 30-34 and 216% for those ages 35-39.
  • Between 1997 and 2020, simple assault arrest rates declined for all groups under age 50. Specifically, the rates dropped 71% for youth ages 15-17, compared with 56% for adults ages 18-24, 39% for those ages 25-29, and 34% for those ages 30-39.
  • Overall from 1980 to 2020, simple assault arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 decreased 24%, compared with 16% for young adults ages 18-20, and an 11% increase for young adults ages 21-24. Among adults ages 35 and older, the rates in 2020 were more than twice the rates in 1980.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05306.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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