This National Report Series Bulletin reports the latest trends in arrests of juveniles (youth younger than age 18) for the period 1980 to 2016, based on analyses of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) Uniform Crime Reporting UCR Program.
Readers of this report are advised that the data presented are drawn from data that local law enforcement agencies across the country report to the FBI. These arrest statistics indicate the number of arrests made by law enforcement agencies in a given year, not the number of individuals arrested nor the number of crimes committed. This is because an unknown number of individuals are arrested more than once during the year for differing crimes. Overall, juvenile arrests have been declining for more than a decade; however, patterns vary by offense and demographic group. In 2018, there were an estimated 856,130 arrests of juveniles, the fewest in nearly four decades. Juvenile arrest rates for violent crimes, such as robbery and aggravated assault, have declined in the last 5 years. Conversely, juvenile arrest rates for murder have increased since 2012. Juvenile arrest rates for property crimes have declined in recent years; by 2016, juvenile arrest rates for larceny theft, burglary, and arson were at their lowest levels since 1980. The juvenile arrest rate for drug law violations in 2016 was at its lowest level since the early 1990s, following 6 years of decline. Male and female juvenile arrest rates have both declined in the last 10 years, with the relative declines being greater for males than females across many offenses. Juvenile arrest rates have declined for all racial groups since 2007, with the relative declines being greater for white youth than Black youth for all but drug offenses.