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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Juvenile Arrests
Q: What are the demographic characteristics of juvenile arrests?
A: Females accounted for more than one-fourth (29%) of the estimated 855,460 juvenile arrests in 2016, youth under age 15 accounted for 28% of all juvenile arrests, and white youth accounted for 62%.

Demographic characteristics of juvenile arrests, 2016

Most serious offense Number of
Female Under
age 15
White Black American
All offenses855,46029%28%62%35%2%1%
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter86010%10%36%61%1%2%
Aggravated assault28,15026%32%54%43%2%1%
Motor vehicle theft15,73018%22%47%50%2%1%
Simple assault128,69037%39%57%40%1%1%
Forgery and counterfeiting1,23026%12%54%44%1%2%
Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing)10,89016%21%39%59%1%1%
Weapons (carrying, possessing, etc.)19,28011%31%54%44%1%1%
Prostitution and commercialized vice50073%12%40%57%1%2%
Sex offenses (except rape & prostitution)NANANANANANANA
Drug abuse violations98,38023%15%75%22%2%1%
Offenses against the family and children3,65039%38%58%22%19%1%
Driving under the influence6,45026%2%89%7%3%2%
Liquor laws36,86040%11%88%7%4%1%
Disorderly conduct65,75036%38%53%44%2%1%
All other offenses (except traffic)154,70028%25%66%31%2%2%
Curfew and loitering34,18030%29%57%40%2%1%
Property Crime Index184,34033%28%58%38%2%2%
Violent crimes*48,12019%26%44%53%1%1%

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/qa05104.asp?qaDate=2016. Released on December 06, 2017.

Data Source: Arrest estimates for 2016 were revised by the National Center for Juvenile Justice in June 2022 based on the FBI’s 2016 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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