2019 Juvenile Arrest Rates Hit 30-Year Low

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A recent report by two federal criminal justice agencies found that the number of juveniles being arrested for felony and misdemeanor crimes fell to its lowest point in decades in 2019, reports the Messenger-Inquirer. The report by the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention showed juvenile arrests for most types of crimes declining in 2019, and all juvenile arrests falling dramatically compared to 2010. But the report also found Black juveniles were arrested last year at a rate well out of proportion compared to their share of the juvenile population. The report found juvenile arrests have declined more than 74 percent since arrests peaked in 1996. That year, more than 2.5 million juveniles were arrested and the number has declined nearly every year since. Last year, 696,620 juveniles were arrested, the report found. Overall, juvenile arrests declined by 4 percent between 2018 and 2019. But between 2015 and 2019, arrests declined by 24 percent, and arrests of minors fell by 58 percent between 2010 and 2019.

The report found Black juveniles are arrested in disproportionate numbers compared to whites. The report says 75 percent of the juvenile population in the U.S. was white in 2019 while 17 percent was Black. However, Black juveniles were involved in 42 percent of all juvenile arrests the last year documented by the FBI. The number of juveniles arrested on charges of murder fell by 6 percent in 2019, with the report identifying an arrest rate of about two per 100,000 juveniles. The report says 860 juveniles were arrested on charges of murder or manslaughter in 2019. Robbery arrests fell by 7 percent in 2019 compared to the year before, and the number arrested for burglary, arson and theft was the lowest since 1980. The most common offenses that resulted in arrests of juveniles include simple (non-aggravated) assaults, theft, drug abuse violations, aggravated assaults, disorderly conduct and vandalism, according to the report. Arrests in all of those categories have declined dramatically since 2010. Female juveniles make up 31 percent of all juvenile arrests last year, while males accounted for 69 percent of juvenile arrest.

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