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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 809,700 juvenile arrests in 2017, youth under age 15 accounted for 28% of all juvenile arrests, and white youth accounted for 62%.

Demographic characteristics of juvenile arrests, 2017

Most serious offense Number of
Female Under
age 15
White Black American
All offenses809,70029%28%62%35%2%1%
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter9108%9%38%61%1%1%
Aggravated assault28,22026%33%54%42%2%1%
Motor vehicle theft16,30018%24%45%52%2%1%
Simple assault123,04037%39%58%39%2%1%
Forgery and counterfeiting1,22022%14%58%40%1%1%
Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing)10,50016%21%41%57%1%2%
Weapons (carrying, possessing, etc.)18,37010%29%54%44%1%2%
Prostitution and commercialized vice28061%14%45%53%1%1%
Sex offenses (except rape & prostitution)NANANANANANANA
Drug abuse violations94,83024%15%74%22%2%2%
Offenses against the family and children3,77037%34%58%28%14%1%
Driving under the influence6,08025%2%89%7%3%2%
Liquor laws33,56041%12%87%6%5%2%
Disorderly conduct62,53036%39%54%43%2%1%
All other offenses (except traffic)149,05028%25%66%30%2%1%
Curfew and loitering30,13030%29%56%41%2%2%
Property Crime Index168,05030%29%56%40%2%2%
Violent crimes*48,47020%27%45%52%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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  • In 2017, females accounted for 37% of all juvenile arrests for larceny-theft, 37% of all juvenile arrests for simple assault arrests, and 36% of juvenile arrests for disorderly conduct.
  • Youth under age 15 accounted for 57% of all juvenile arrests for arson in 2017, and about one-third of juvenile arrests for aggravated assault and burglary.
  • Minority youth accounted for more than half of all juvenile arrests for murder and robbery, 44% of burglary arrests, and 43% of larceny-theft arrests.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05104.asp?qaDate=2017. Released on October 22, 2018.

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 2017 developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice based on data published in the FBI's 2017 Crime in the United States report. These are preliminary estimates that will be updated upon release of final estimates on the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Arrest Data Analysis Tool.


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