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Juvenile Violent Offenders - The Growth In Juvenile Violence In The Early 1990s

crime crimes serious ncvs

Since 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice has monitored the amount of violent crime committed by juveniles and adults in the United States through its National Crime Victimization Survey (or NCVS). Each year NCVS interviewers ask the residents ages twelve and above in tens of thousands of households about the crimes they have experienced and the offenders who committed these crimes. To monitor serious violent crime trends, the NCVS adds together reports of three specific crimes, which together act as a barometer of serious violence in the United States. These three crimes are sexual assault, aggravated assault, and robbery. (Note that the F.B.I. Violent Crime Index is similar to the set of crimes used by the NCVS to monitor serious violence with the exception of murder—which is difficult for victims to report to NCVS interviewers.)

The NCVS has found the rate of serious violent crimes committed by juvenile offenders (i.e., persons under age eighteen) changed little between 1973 and 1989. However, after these years of stability, the rate of serious juvenile violence increased nearly 40 percent in the short period between 1989 and 1993, focusing the nation's fears on the threat of juvenile violence. However, throughout this period of change, the percentage of all serious violent crimes committed by juveniles remained relatively constant, indicating the changes in juvenile crime were mirrored by similar changes in crimes committed by adult offenders—although throughout the period the media and others largely characterized the growth in serious violence as a juvenile crime problem.

The NCVS found that the proportion of juvenile serious violent crime reported to law enforcement changed little over the period between 1973 and 1997. Therefore, it is not surprising that trends in juvenile arrests for Violent Crime Index crimes have followed a similar pattern to victims' reports in the NCVS of juvenile serious violent crime. Following nearly fifteen years of consistency, the juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate increased more than 60 percent between 1988 and 1994. More dramatically, juvenile arrests for murder more than doubled between 1987 and 1993 after years of relative stability. The large growth in violent juveniles entering the juvenile justice system strained its resources and raised questions about the juvenile justice system's ability to protect public and control these youth.

Juvenile Violent Offenders - The Concept Of The Juvenile Super Predator [next] [back] Juvenile Violent Offenders - Prevalence Of Juvenile Violence

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