U.S. juvenile courts handled more than 1.2 million criminal delinquency in 2011, a drop of 34 percent over 14 years, the U.S. Justice Department’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Office (OJJDP) said today. From 1985 through 1997, the number of delinquency cases climbed by 62 percent, then began falling.
The pattern of increase followed by decline is reflected in specific offense categories. Public order offenses increased by 129 percent from 1985 through 2005 and then declined 28 percent 2011. Crimes against persons increased 131 percent through 1997, leveled off through the early 2000s, and fell 27 percent between 2005 and 2011. Drug law violations more than doubled between 1985 and 1997 and then declined 20 percent through 2011. Between 1985 and 1995, the number of property offenses rose 31 percent. Since 1995, property offenses declined 51 percent from 1995 through 2011. Property offenses were the one general offense category that declined overall from 1985 through 2011 (down 36 percent).