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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Juvenile Arrests
Q: How many arrests are made of persons under age 18?
A: In 2018, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. made an estimated 721,630 arrests of persons under age 18, 60% less than the number of arrests in 2009.

Estimated number of juvenile arrests, 2018

Most serious offense Number of
Percent change
2009-2018 2014-2018 2017-2018
All offenses721,630-60%-30%-10%
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter950-19%25%7%
Aggravated assault27,700-45%-9%-0%
Motor vehicle theft14,820-26%17%-4%
Simple assault124,540-43%-11%2%
Forgery and counterfeiting1,030-52%-13%-15%
Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing)9,450-50%-9%-10%
Weapons (carrying, possessing, etc.)17,120-49%-18%-5%
Prostitution and commercialized vice260-81%-65%-17%
Sex offenses (except rape & prostitution)NANANANA
Drug abuse violations89,850-47%-21%-4%
Offenses against the family and children3,220-28%-5%-16%
Driving under the influence5,510-59%-21%-8%
Liquor laws26,360-76%-48%-22%
Disorderly conduct57,430-66%-29%-7%
All other offenses (except traffic)136,120-58%-27%-7%
Curfew and loitering22,030-80%-59%-27%
Violent Crime IndexNANANANA
Property Crime Index131,200-69%-44%-21%
Violent crimes*45,670-45%-10%-4%

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.

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 offenses of “rape” and “sex offenses” 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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Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05101.asp?qaDate=2018. Revised on October 31, 2019.

Data Source: Arrest estimates for 1980-2014 developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through the Arrest Data Analysis Tool.

Arrest estimates for 2017 and 2018 were revised by the National Center for Juvenile Justice in June 2022 based on the FBI’s annual Arrest Master Files 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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