Trends in Juvenile Offending: The Victim's Perspective

James P. Lynch, The American University - Washington

Our understanding of juvenile offending nationally comes primarily from the arrest rates compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). These data provide a highly selective view of offenders, making it very difficult to interpret arrest rates as offending rates. This report provides another perspective on offending nationally by using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). This report presents offending rates from the NCVS for serious violent offending by juveniles from 1980 through 1998, and compares these trends to those from the UCR. This comparison suggests that; 1) racial disproportionality in offending is some what greater in arrest statistics compared to the survey data, (2) females are over represented in the arrest data, 3) that co-offending is much more prevalent among black juveniles than white and more prevalent among males than females, 4) co-offending with adults also occurs more among black offenders than white offenders and 5) that the decreases in black offending between 1993 and 1998 have been greater than those for whites and that decreases in co-offending have been greater than the decrease in lone offending over the period.

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Updated 05/20/2006