U.S. Drug Arrest Rates Jump Over 30 Years; Murder Arrests Down 57%


The U.S. arrest rate for drug possession or use doubled for whites and tripled for blacks over the last three decades, while the murder arrest rate dropped more than 50 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. Arrest rates for forcible rape, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and weapon law violations also dropped significantly, while the arrest rates for aggravated assault and simple assault increased.

Murder arrest rates varied widely among racial groups. Over the 30-year period, the black arrest rate for murder averaged seven times the white rate. While the adult murder arrest rate declined gradually, dropping 57 percent, the juvenile murder arrest rate was more volatile. The juvenile rate for murder spiked by 162 percent between 1984 and 1993, then fell so that by 2009 the rate (1.6 per 100,000) was 44 percent below its 1980 level (2.8 per 100,000). BJS released an arrest data analysis tool at http://www.bjs.gov. It permits users to analyze 30-year national arrest trends, to create graphs and tables of national arrest estimates, customized by age and sex or by age group and race, for many different offenses. These are the first publicly available national arrest estimates covering this 30-year period broken down by age, sex, and race.

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