Juvenile crimes are offences by persons below the legally accepted age of adulthood. Although the age at which one is considered adult varies, most of the jurisdictions agree that the person should at least be 18 years of age. Juvenile crimes range from petty crimes to serious crimes commonly referred to us indictable crimes. Initial management of juvenile criminals is just like that of adults and includes taking fingerprints, handcuffing, and photographs. Federal government, through FBI has a way of maintaining data of various criminal activities that have been conducted. The statistics are prepared annually to assist in coming up with comprehensive and reliable ways of controlling crime. Juvenile crime just as adults changes with time and hence need for different methods of approach.
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Juvenile arrests have shown trends of decrease. For instance, in 2008, the arrests went down by 3% as compared to 2007 (Puzzanchera, 2009). Similarly, the juvenile arrests regarding violent offences declined by 2 percent. This was contrary to the period between 2005 and 2006 when the rate had immensely increased posing a great threat. About 10% of certain crime categories decreased, but this was reflected partially because other categories went up by almost the same margin. Between 1993 and 2008, murder arrests dropped by 74 % (Puzzanchera, 2009). In addition, the number of males declined by 6% between the year 1999 and 2008. When the focus shifts to citizens with less than 40 years, tremendous decrease was recorded between 1994 and 2008. Juvenile arrests for violent crimes declined by 2% between the years 2007 and 2008.
During summer, juvenile crimes used to be high, but in 2007, fewer cases had been recorded. It is also evident that the crime rate increased during academic periods when 2006 and 2008 are compared. The arrests in 2009 were 8% lower when compared to 2006. Report found that the same results were reported when springs were compared between the years 2007 and year 2008 (Puzzanchera, 2009). Decrease was also recorded in the period between spring and summer. This was recorded between the year 2007 and 2008. In general, there was a decrease in juvenile crimes if to compare various perspectives between the years 2007 and 2008.
Drug abuse and other simple assaults increased. In 2008, it was estimated that 12.2 % of all the arrests were because of drug abuse. Arrests because of property crimes also increased by around 5.6% in 2008 as compared to 2007(Puzzanchera, 2009). The statistics obtained from the FBI also clearly illustrate an increase in traffic offences associated with juveniles. There was an overall increase in drug-related crimes and simple attacks. In 2001, estimated 202,500 juveniles were arrested with crimes related to drug abuse. This number showed a constant increase. In addition, in 2008, there was reported about 100 cases of thefts and drug abuse more than in 2007.
In 2008, there was 54% increase in marijuana usage and weapon offences as compared to the previous year (La Free, 1995). In Arvada alone, 95% of all crimes conducted against the society were because of drugs. Other crimes which increased at the same period were domestic alarms, suspicious events, noise disturbances, and ‘unwanted touching’. Between 1990 and 1997, drug abuse also increased by 145%, whereas in 2008, the rate was 78% higher than in 1990 (Benedek, & Cornell, 1989). It was also evident that the rate of drug abuse was higher among the whites than among the blacks. This has been constant from 1997 to 2008 (Hawkins, 1995). Drug abuse has been a major cause of arrests, which increases over years despite control measures. It has also been associated with other crimes such as rape and simple assaults, and therefore, tough and result-oriented measures are needed.
Juvenile crimes have also been associated with ethnic and racial minorities. Black population formed 16% of the total population in 2008, yet, it was responsible for 52% of the total number of crimes conducted. Out of these crimes, 33% were crimes linked to property. It was also found that the number of blacks arrested were 10 times higher than the number of whites in the year 2008. 44% of the victims of juvenile murder were whites, whereas 30% of the victims were blacks with less than 5 years of age (Cornell & Benedek, 1987). In addition, blacks’ juvenile murder in 1993 to 2004 showed tremendous decrease, but increased in the year 2008. In all racial groups, robbery-related assaults decreased after reaching its peak in 1990. There are only few cases of crimes associated with Indian and Asian Americans because of their low population.
It was also found that white youths had the highest number of arrests with 47%, whereas the blacks had 52%. Asian and Indian youths shared 1% each of all the crimes committed (Hawkins, 1995). White and black youths were also highly represented in property crimes. Therefore, blacks were highly represented in the arrests. There was also an increase in the number of black youths involved in abusing drugs between 2002 and 2007. This has led to the arrest of many of them. Fewer women were arrested because they were only involved in petty crimes such as larceny and simple crimes. Consequently, there were more arrests of adult females than juvenile ones for property and other major crimes. This can be attributed to the complex nature of the crime at hand (Puzzanchera, 2009). Larceny arrests of females also increased as compared to males. This could be attributed to the fact that males were much more involved in major crimes than petty crimes.
Between 1999 and 2008, the male arrests associated with property decreased, whereas the number of female arrests increased. Females recorded 29%, whereas males recorded 5%. Weapon arrests’ decline between the year 2006 and the year 2008 showed that females’ arrests amounted to 19%, whereas males were 15%. Between 1999 and 2008, male arrests for exaggerated assaults decreased as compared to female. The percentage was 17% to 22% respectively (Benedek & Cornell, 1989). More females were, therefore, arrested as compared to males. There is also a tendency that juvenile females are engaging in crimes more than they did in the past. It can be attributed to the increase in justice and awareness among women. It is clear that juvenile female arrests have increased gradually. Between 1990 and 2003, arrests increased by 20% and 29% for males and females respectively (Puzzanchera, 2009).
There was 92% increase in juvenile arrests between 1985 and 2002, whereas those of boys were 29% only (Hawkins, 1995). This can be attributed to the changes in the current justice system, which treats girls as equal to boys and even gives then more attention. Secure imprisonment is more likely to be offered to women, and this poses less threat for arrests among women. In 2008, the rate of female arrests increased to 51%, whereas that of males was only 43%.
Tracking the juveniles involves data storage in save places where it cannot be retrieved easily. This data consists of all the information regarding crimes committed. The data is stored under the management of FBI and can be availed when required (Puzzanchera, 2009). It should be handled with care to give the best results possible because it relies much on society views. Tracking of information assists in guiding the justice system to interpret the law and give justice to the offended party.
In conclusion, the level of juvenile crimes has increased and evolved over time; hence there is a need to come up with more appropriate measures to deal with it. Juvenile arrests vary among different ethnic groups and races as well as among males and females. The rate of juvenile female arrests has increased in the recent years and attracted the attention of the justice system. Juvenile criminal records can be useful in reducing crime rates, which are costly and destructive. This process becomes easier when the information is well stored.
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