Statistical Briefing Book > Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime Previous Page
Juvenile Arrests
Q: What are the demographic characteristics of juvenile arrests?
A: Females accounted for nearly one-third (30%) of the estimated 728,280 juvenile arrests in 2018, youth under age 15 accounted for 30% of all juvenile arrests, and white youth accounted for 62%.

Demographic characteristics of juvenile arrests, 2018

Most serious offense Number of
Female Under
age 15
White Black American
All offenses728,28030%30%62%35%2%1%
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter92011%10%40%58%1%1%
Aggravated assault27,94028%35%56%41%2%2%
Motor vehicle theft14,78018%25%45%52%2%1%
Simple assault125,03037%41%59%38%2%1%
Forgery and counterfeiting1,04020%20%57%40%1%2%
Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing)9,32016%21%37%59%1%2%
Weapons (carrying, possessing, etc.)17,17011%29%54%43%1%2%
Prostitution and commercialized vice26061%21%59%38%2%2%
Sex offenses (except rape & prostitution)NANANANANANANA
Drug abuse violations90,67025%17%73%23%2%2%
Offenses against the family and children3,34038%36%68%23%7%1%
Driving under the influence5,45025%3%88%7%3%2%
Liquor laws26,35042%14%87%6%5%1%
Disorderly conduct57,76036%40%55%42%2%1%
All other offenses (except traffic)140,50029%27%67%30%2%1%
Curfew and loitering22,03030%31%56%41%2%1%
Property Crime Index131,50032%29%55%42%2%2%
Violent crimes*46,14021%29%47%50%1%2%

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.

  • In 2018, females accounted for 39% of all juvenile arrests for larceny-theft, 37% of all juvenile arrests for simple assault, and 36% of juvenile arrests for disorderly conduct.
  • Youth under age 15 accounted for 58% of all juvenile arrests for arson in 2018, and about one-third of juvenile arrests for aggravated assault (35%) and 30% of juvenile arrests for burglary.
  • Minority youth accounted for more than half of all juvenile arrests for murder and robbery, 45% of burglary arrests, and 44% of larceny-theft arrests.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on October 31, 2019.

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 2018 developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice based on data published in the FBI's 2018 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.