Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Court Previous Page
Delinquency Cases
Q: How many delinquency cases are handled by juvenile courts?
A: In 2017 courts with juvenile jurisdiction disposed approximately 818,900 delinquency cases, the fewest number of cases handled since the mid-1970s.

Estimated number of delinquency cases, 2017

Most serious offense Number
of cases
Percent change
1985-2017 2008-2017 2013-2017 2016-2017
Total Delinquency 818,900 -30% -49% -27% -2%
Person Offenses 241,400 31% -39% -16% 0%
Violent Crime Index*
57,600 -6% -34% -1% 6%
Criminal homicide
1,100 -9% -8% 52% 21%
Rape
8,400 61% -14% -2% 6%
Robbery
21,600 -15% -35% 3% 10%
Aggravated assault
26,600 -11% -38% -5% 3%
Simple assault
153,000 45% -39% -20% -2%
Other violent sex offenses
7,500 11% -37% -28% 5%
Other person offenses
23,300 124% -50% -21% 1%
Property Offenses 265,600 -62% -56% -34% -5%
Property Crime Index**
185,000 -64% -56% -36% -6%
Burglary
54,100 -62% -49% -25% -0%
Larceny-theft
111,300 -66% -60% -44% -11%
Motor vehicle theft
17,100 -52% -28% 45% 10%
Arson
2,500 -63% -62% -42% -5%
Vandalism
41,500 -52% -60% -31% 1%
Trespassing
23,700 -56% -57% -30% -3%
Stolen property offenses
8,700 -71% -52% -24% -5%
Other property offenses
6,800 -63% -54% -17% 4%
Drug Law Violations 107,400 38% -39% -26% 1%
Public Order Offenses 204,500 5% -51% -28% -4%
Obstruction of justice
104,800 56% -46% -25% -3%
Disorderly conduct
51,300 14% -58% -37% -9%
Weapons offenses
18,100 -10% -52% -21% -0%
Liquor law violations
4,800 -73% -72% -44% -8%
Nonviolent sex offenses
11,900 -9% 1% 13% 7%
Other public order offenses
13,700 -57% -57% -37% -3%

* Includes criminal homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
** Includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Note: Detail may not add to totals because of rounding. Percent-change based on unrounded numbers.

  • Delinquency offenses are acts committed by juveniles that would be crimes if committed by adults.
  • The juvenile court delinquency caseload peaked in 1997, then fell 57% through 2017. By 2017, the delinquency caseload rested at a level 30% lower than in 1985.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06201.asp?qaDate=2017. Released on April 23, 2019.

Adapted from Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics. Available on-line at: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/.

Data Source: National Juvenile Court Data Archive. National Center for Juvenile Justice. Pittsburgh, PA.