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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for drug law violations?
A: Across ages, drug abuse violation arrest rates were higher in 2012 than in 1980.

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  • The peak year for juvenile drug abuse violation arrest rates was 1997. Between 1980 and 1997, arrest rates doubled on average for youth ages 15-17, as did arrest rates for adults ages 18-24. By comparison, rates for adults ages 30-34 tripled and rates for those ages 40-44 increased by a factor of 6.
  • Between 1997 and 2012, drug abuse violation arrest rates declined for juveniles and most adults. For example, the rate fell 40% for youth ages 15-17, compared with 17% for adults ages 18-20 and 16% for adults age 21-24.
  • Overall from 1980 to 2012, the drug abuse violation arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased 19%. In comparison, the rates increased more for adults age 18 and older. More specifically, the rates increased 87% for adults ages 18-24, 147% for adults ages 25-29, 246% for those ages 30-34, 344% for those ages 35-39, and 505% for those ages 40-44. Even the arrest rates for adults ages 60-64 increased 376%.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05308.asp?qaDate=2012. Released on December 16, 2014.

Data Source: Arrest estimates developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through “Arrest Data Analysis Tool.” Online. Available from the BJS website. Retrieved October 14, 2014.


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