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Racial and Ethnic Fairness
For most offenses, Black youth were arrested at higher rates than white youth in 2020.

Youth arrest rates by offense and race, 2020

Juvenile arrest rate (per 100,000) Ratio of Rates*
Most serious offense All
White Black American
Asian Black American
All offenses1,274.81,080.22,487.11,815.2259.
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter2.
Aggravated assault57.543.7132.5102.
Motor vehicle theft35.022.0103.649.
Simple assault213.1176.8438.4256.542.
Forgery and counterfeiting1.
Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing)24.610.496.624.
Weapons (carrying, possessing, etc.)33.421.399.918.
Prostitution and commercialized vice0.
Sex offenses (except rape & prostitution)NANANANANANANANA
Drug abuse violations127.0124.5174.6159.325.
Offenses against the family and children7.
Driving under the influence17.620.76.936.
Liquor laws53.861.418.5213.311.
Disorderly conduct74.357.0168.0147.511.
All other offenses (except traffic)258.3235.0439.3313.
Curfew and loitering35.133.153.348.
Property Crime Index224.4167.1545.4251.655.
Violent crimes***96.463.2273.5117.819.

Note: Rates are arrests of persons ages 0-17 per 100,000 persons ages 10-17 in the resident population.

Violent Crime Index includes murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Property Crime Index includes, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

* The ratio of rates is created by dividing the rates for each racial or ethnic minority group by the white rate. A ratio of 1.0 indicates parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison group are equal. For example, if white youth and Black youth were arrested at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. A ratio greater than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial or ethnic minority group is greater than the rate for white youth. A ratio less than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial and ethnic minority group is less than the rate for white youth.

NA: Beginning in 2013, the FBI broadened the definition of rape, removing the phrase “forcible” from the offense name and description. The new definition of rape is: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. The new definition includes the NIBRS offenses of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object.

Law enforcement agencies may submit data on rape arrests based on either the new or legacy definition of rape. Due to differences in agency reporting practices, national estimates for the offense of “rape” are not available after 2012. Additionally, estimates for the Violent Crime Index (which included “forcible rape”) are not shown after 2012 as this category is no longer compatible with prior years.

** The "violent crimes" category includes the offenses of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault and is presented as an alternative to the Violent Crime Index, which is not available as a result of the change to the definition of rape in 2013. In any given year prior to the change in the rape definition, these three offenses accounted for more than 95% of arrests for Violent Crime Index offenses.

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  • While Black youth were more likely to be arrested than white youth for most offenses in 2020, arrests for alcohol related offenses (DUI, liquor laws, and drunkenness) were a notable exception. For DUI and liquor laws, for example, white youth were more than twice as likely to be arrested as were Black youth.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/special_topics/qa11501.asp?qaDate=2020. Released on July 08, 2022.

Data Source: 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).

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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