Based on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, this report highlights trends in youth arrests between 1996 and 2020 separately for violent and property crimes.
The number of arrests of youth for violent crime (murder, robbery, and aggravated assault) increased every year from approximately 80,000 arrests in 1986 to approximately 145,000 arrests in 1995. Arrests for violent crimes by youth then deceased gradually for most years from 1996 to 2020. Arrests for property crimes saw a similar decline from 1996. The number of youth arrests for violent crime in 2020 was one-third the number in 2006. The decline in arrests for violent crime since 1996 was greater for youth than adults; as a result, youth accounted for 6 percent of arrests for violent crime in 2020. Youth under age 15 and females each accounted for about 3 of every 10 arrests for property crime involving youth in 2020. Youth arrests for property crime index offenses fell 83 percent after 2008. This report notes that the 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities. In addition, stay-at-home orders and school closures likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating by youth that came to the attention of law enforcement. 5 figures