Arrests of California youth ages 10-17 declined sharply last year, reports the California-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Since 2007, California’s youth arrest rate has dropped to record-setting lows each year. In 2016, there were 9,180 fewer arrests of youth ages 10-17 than the previous year, a 13 percent decline. Youth arrests for violent crimes have fallen to less than half the rate in 1990. The 2016 arrest rate of youth for violent crimes (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping) fell to 56 percent below the 1990 rate and 68 percent below 1975’s rate.
Millennial youth have the lowest rates of juvenile arrest on record. A number equivalent to five percent of Millennials (people born 1982-2004) under age 18 were arrested annually. In contrast, an average of 11 percent of Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) and 8 percent of members of Generation X (born 1961-1981) were arrested as juveniles. This historic plunge in youth crime is also occurring nationally, the center says. The arrest decline has coincided with an era of justice reform measures in California. In the midst of state and local policies that have emphasized rehabilitation instead of punishment and incarceration, California has seen a 71 percent decline in total juvenile arrests and a 57 percent decline in arrests for violent offenses from 2010 through 2016.