Juveniles And Violent Crime


Per the FBI: Out of 4,608,000 offenders arrested or connected to a crime, 465,000 were juveniles with 697,000 unknown.

Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics: During 2004–13, adolescents made up 10 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older but were offenders in 22 percent of all nonfatal violent victimizations.


By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Master’s Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University.


We answer a student’s question as to juveniles arrested for violent crime.

The chart below offers data as to those arrested or connected to a crime by law enforcement agencies. It’s presented by the FBI and their National Incident-Based Reporting System.

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is an effort on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect better, higher quality data than the current Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the study that tells us whether crime has increased or decreased.

Note that the data is based on crimes reported to police, not a measure of all crime. Approximately half of violent crimes (47 percent) are reported to police per the National Crime Victimization Survey. Out of close to five million reported crimes (4,902,000), less than two million (1,822,000) involved an identified suspect.

Where the FBI Data Comes From

The FBI released details on more than 5.6 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for 2015. The report includes what the bureau calls “a diverse range of information about victims, known offenders, and relationships for 23 offense categories comprised of 49 offenses.”

NIBRS currently is used by 36 percent of law enforcement agencies that take part in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.

Because it offers a better picture of crime, NIBRS is supposed to replace the UCR (the current reporting program) by 2021.  FBI.gov

FBI: Juveniles Represent A Small Percent of Those Arrested

In 2015, a total of 4,608,000 offenders were arrested or connected to a crime. 465,000 were juveniles with 697,000 of an unknown age.

Juveniles are those individuals under 18 years of age.

In every category in the chart below, adults significantly outnumbered juveniles arrested or “connected” to reported crimes.

The problem is the unknowns. There are categories (i.e., arson, burglary, vehicle theft, pornography) where juveniles and unknowns come close to the number of adults.

Obviously, the numbers involved are greatly skewed by age. Juvenile participation in criminal activity mostly involves those 13-17 compared to the decades of involvement for all other age groups. Given this discrepancy, adults are going to be connected to most criminal activity.

Adolescents Made Up 10 Percent Of The U.S. Population But Were Offenders In 22 Percent of all Nonfatal Violent Victimizations.

Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey

As stated above, most crime is not reported to law enforcement. To get a picture of overall crime, we have the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice, see Crime in America for an explanation between the two main indexes for measuring crime.

The findings below are based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which collects information from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households in which victims self-report their experiences with criminal victimization. Nonfatal violent victimizations include rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault.

During 2004–13, adolescents made up 10 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older but were offenders in 22 percent of all nonfatal violent victimizations.

In at least two-thirds (66 to 69 percent) of the serious nonfatal violent victimizations committed by adolescents, the victims were also adolescents.

Adolescents ages 12 to 17 committed 50 nonfatal violent victimizations per 1,000 adolescents during 2004–13. This was slightly higher than the rate committed by young adults (45.2 per 1,000 persons ages 18 to 29) and more than 3.5 times higher than the adult rate (13.7 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 30 or older).

The report, Co-Offending Among Adolescents in Violent Victimizations, 2004–13 can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

See chart below for FBI data:

Crime in America at http://crimeinamerica.net

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com.

Media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.

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