Child Welfare League of America Making Children a National Priority


Child Welfare League of America Making Children a National Priority
About Us
Special Initiatives
News and Media Center
Research and Data
Conferences and Training
Culture and Diversity
Support CWLA
CWLA Members Only Content

Home > Juvenile Justice Division > Facts and Figures > Facts and Figures - 2004


Facts and Figures - 2004

Juvenile Arrests 2003 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Bulletin examines statistics and trends in juvenile delinquency.

In 2003, the number of juveniles murdered, 1,550, was the lowest since 1984.

In 2003, there were an estimated 61,490 juvenile arrests for aggravated assault. Between 1994 and 2003, the annual number of such arrests fell 26%.

Females accounted for 24% of juvenile arrests for aggravated assault and 32% of juvenile arrests for other assaults (i.e., simple assaults and intimidations) in 2003, far more than their involvement in other types of violent crimes. Three of every five juvenile arrests (59%) for running away from home involved a female, as did 3 of every 10 arrests (30%) for curfew and loitering law violations.

Between 1994 and 2003, arrests of juvenile females generally increased more (or decreased less) than male arrests in most offense categories.

Between 1994 and 2003, there were substantial declines in juvenile arrests for murder (68%), motor vehicle theft (52%), and weapons law violations (41%) and increases in juvenile arrests for drug abuse violations (19%) and driving under the influence (33%).

The juvenile proportion of Property Crime Index offenses cleared by arrest or exceptional means in 2003 (19%) was at its lowest level since at least 1980.

For all Violent Crime Index offenses combined, the number of juvenile arrests in 2003 was the lowest since 1987. The number of juvenile aggravated assault arrests in 2003 was lower than in any year since 1989. The number of juvenile arrests in 2003 for murder and for forcible rape were both lower than in any year since at least 1980. Finally, even with the marginal 3% increase in the number of juvenile arrests for robbery between 2002 and 2003, the counts for these years were still lower than in any year since at least 1980.

In 2003, the juvenile larceny-theft arrest rate and the juvenile motor vehicle theft arrest rate were at their lowest levels since at least the 1970s.

In contrast to their representation in the population, black youth were overrepresented in juvenile arrests for violent crimes, and, to a lesser extent, property crimes. Of all juvenile arrests for violent crimes in 2003, 53% involved white youth, 45% involved black youth, 1% involved Asian youth, and 1% involved American Indian youth. For property crime arrests, the proportions were 69% white youth, 28% black youth, 2% Asian youth, and 1% American Indian youth. Each year the FBI provides statistical data on National and State Crime rates called Universal Crime Reports (UCR). The following provides additional information on crime rates in the United States:

Based on 2004 supplemental homicide data (where the age, sex, or race of the murder victims were known), 90.2 percent of murder victims were adults and 9.8 percent of the victims were juveniles. The data for 2004 concerning the murders for which the offenders were known showed that 91.7 percent of the offenders were adults and 8.3 percent were juveniles.

In contrast to the 2-year arrest trend of adults, the arrest total for juveniles in 2004 decreased 1.7 percent from the 2003 figure. Over the same 2-year period, arrests of juveniles for violent crimes declined 1.0 percent and for property crimes dropped 2.9 percent.

In 2004, law enforcement in the Nation's cities reported that 82.7 percent of arrests in their jurisdictions were of adults, and 17.3 percent of arrests were of juveniles. Juveniles accounted for 16.4 percent of arrestees for violent crimes and 28.3 percent of the arrestees for property crimes. Of all arrests in the Nation's cities in 2004, 46.8 percent were of individuals under age 25.

In metropolitan counties, 12.6 percent of arrests were of juveniles and in non-metropolitan counties 9.5 percent of arrests were juveniles.

Of the total number (15,416,973) of arrests for drug abuse violations during the decade (1994-2003) examined for this study, 12.4 percent were of juveniles (persons under age 18). Law enforcement agencies made over 1.9 million arrests of juveniles for drug abuse violations from 1994 to 2003. The data further revealed that in 1994, persons under 18 accounted for 11.8 percent of the number of arrests for drug abuse. Ten years later, the juvenile proportion of arrests for drug abuse violations was virtually unchanged: 11.6 percent.

A review of the arrest data for 2003 revealed that the overall number of arrests of juveniles for the sale/manufacturing or possession of marijuana accounted for over 7 out of every 10 arrests of juveniles for drug abuse. Arrests for the sale/manufacturing or possession of marijuana accounted for 73.0 percent of the arrests of juveniles for drug abuse violations, followed by opium or cocaine with 13.2 percent of the arrests, dangerous nonnarcotics with 10.9 percent, and synthetic narcotics with 2.9 percent. Child Maltreatment 2004 is the most recent in an annual series of reports published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. The data in this report is derived from NCANDS (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System). Some significant findings in the report include:

During the past 3 years, the rate of victimization and the number of victims have been decreasing. An estimated 872,000 children were determined to be victims of child abuse or neglect for 2004. The rate of victimization per 1,000 children in the national population has dropped from 12.5 children in 2001 to 11.9 children in 2004.

More than 60 percent of child victims were neglected by their parents or other caregivers. About 18 percent were physically abused, 10 percent were sexually abused, and 7 percent were emotionally maltreated. In addition, 15 percent were associated with "other" types of maltreatment based on specific State laws and policies. A child could be a victim of more than one type of maltreatment.

Children in the age group of birth to 3 years had the highest rate of victimization at 16.1 per 1,000 children of the same age group in the national population. Girls were slightly more likely to be victims than boys were.

African-American children, Pacific Islander children, and American Indian or Alaska Native children had the highest rates of victimization at 19.9, 17.6, and 15.5 per 1,000 children of the same race or ethnicity, respectively. White children and Hispanic children had rates of approximately 10.7 and 10.4 per 1,000 children of the same race or ethnicity, respectively.

Child fatalities are the most tragic consequence of maltreatment. For 2004, an estimated 1,490 children died due to child abuse or neglect. More than 80 percent of children who were killed were younger than 4 years old; approximately 12 percent were 4-7 years old; 4 percent were 8-11 years old, and 3 percent were 12-17 years old. Every year since 1997 the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has authored America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. Here are some of the significant findings from the 2006 Brief:

In 2004, 73 million children under age 18 lived in the United States, 900,000 more than in 2000. Children under age 18 represented 25 percent of the population in 2004, down from a peak of 36 percent at the end of the baby boom in 1964.

In 2004, the number and percentage of children living in families with incomes below their poverty thresholds were 12.5 million and 17 percent, respectively, both unchanged from 2003. The 2004 poverty rate was lower than the peak of 22 percent in 1993.

Among adolescents ages 15-17, birth rates continued to decline. In 2004, the teenage birth rate was 22 per 1,000 females, the lowest rate ever recorded. From 1991 through 2004, the decline was especially striking among Black, non-Hispanic teenagers; the rate for this group dropped by more than half, from 86 to 37 births per 1,000 females.

Injuries, which include homicide, suicide, and unintentional injuries (accidents), accounted for 3 of 4 deaths among adolescents ages 15-19 in 2002. The two leading mechanisms of adolescent injury mortality were firearms and motor vehicle traffic crashes. The firearm injury death rate declined by more than half from 1994 to 2003 (28 deaths per 100,000 adolescents in 1994 to 12 in 2003). During this period, the death rate for motor vehicle traffic-related injuries was 29 deaths per 100,000 adolescents in 1994 and 25 in 2003. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention presents comprehensive information on juvenile crime, violence, and victimization and on the juvenile justice system. This OJJDP National Report brings together the latest available statistics from a variety of sources and includes numerous tables, graphs, and maps, accompanied by analyses in clear, non-technical language. Highlights from the report include but are not limited to the following:

In 2003, high school students responding to a national survey reported having property stolen or damaged at school (1 in 3) more often than fighting at school (1 in 8). Fear of school-related crime kept 5 in 100 high schoolers home at least once during the prior month. Half of high school seniors (51%) surveyed in 2003 said they had tried illicit drugs at least once. The figure was lower for 10th graders (41%) and 8th graders (23%). Marijuana was the most common drug used-46% of seniors said they had tried marijuana. About half of those who had used marijuana said they had not used any other illicit drugs.

In comparison, more than three-quarters of seniors said they had tried alcohol. Even among 8th graders, alcohol use was common: two-thirds had tried it. Perhaps of greater concern are the juveniles who indicated heavy drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the preceding 2 weeks. Recent heavy drinking was reported by 28% of seniors, 22% of 10th graders, and 12% of 8th graders. The good news is that past month alcohol use in 2004 for all three grades was at or near its lowest levels since the mid-1970s. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for high school students, accounting for 77% of all deaths in 2002 among teens ages 14-17. Three in 10 high school students said that in the past month they rode in a vehicle with a driver who had been drinking. In addition, 3 in 25 high school students said that in the past month they drove a vehicle after drinking alcohol.

In 2003, fewer than 1 in 3 high school students said they were offered, sold, or given drugs at school in the past year.

Nationally fewer than 97,000 juvenile offenders were held in juvenile residential facilities on October 22, 2003. This translates to a custody rate of 307 offenders in custody for every 100,000 juveniles in the population. After many years of increases, the juvenile custody population declined in 2001-the 2003 count was lower still. (p. 199-200)

Juveniles detained while awaiting juvenile or criminal court hearings or awaiting placement elsewhere accounted for 25% of the 1-day count in 2003. The 2003 count of detained juvenile offenders was 26,269. In comparison, the count of juveniles committed by the court to the facility was 69,007. Person offenders accounted for the largest proportion of both the detained and the committed populations.

The decline in black juveniles in custody led the overall 1997-2003 custody population decline. The number of black youth in custody dropped 12%. In comparison, the number of white youth held dropped 5%.

Even with the large drop in the black custody population, the 2003 custody rate was highest for black youth (754/100,000). The rates were lower for Asian (113), white (190), Hispanic (348), and American Indian youth (496).

On the day of the 2003 data collection, 34% of committed offenders and 3% of detained offenders had been in placement 6 months since their admission. The median time in placement thus was 15 days for detained offenders, 105 days for offenders committed to public facilities, and 121 days for those committed to private facilities.

 Back to Top   Printer-friendly Page Printer-friendly Page   Contact Us Contact Us




About Us | Special Initiatives | Advocacy | Membership | News & Media Center | Practice Areas | Support CWLA
Research/Data | Publications | Webstore | Conferences/Training | Culture/Diversity | Consultation/Training

All Content and Images Copyright Child Welfare League of America. All Rights Reserved.
See also Legal Information, Privacy Policy, Browser Compatibility Statement

CWLA is committed to providing equal employment opportunities and access for all individuals.
No employee, applicant for employment, or member of the public shall be discriminated against
on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or
any other personal characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.