Just how much delinquency is going on
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Just how much delinquency is going on?. Defining/Measuring Juvenile Crime Trends in Juvenile Delinquency, and Abuse/Neglect The Danger of Misusing Data. Types of Delinquency. Non-Delinquent Activity (Status Offenses) Hard to get reliable information Self-report probably most accurate

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Just how much delinquency is going on

Just how much delinquency is going on?

Defining/Measuring Juvenile Crime

Trends in Juvenile Delinquency, and Abuse/Neglect

The Danger of Misusing Data


Types of delinquency
Types of Delinquency

  • Non-Delinquent Activity (Status Offenses)

    • Hard to get reliable information

    • Self-report probably most accurate

  • Delinquent Activity (“Crime” for adults)

    • Same sources of information as for adults, but how to tease out age?

    • Even when we get age = “less than 18”

  • Abuse/Neglect Cases

    • Official Data very suspect (sexual abuse example)


Uniform crime reports
Uniform Crime Reports

  • Best for Serious Offenses/Crime Trends

    • Offenses Known to police (useless for JD)

    • Arrests/Crimes Cleared by Arrest Keep information for <18 years

      • Bias = police discretion& practices, reporting

  • Serious crimes <bias (discretion, reporting)

    • Murder most reliable

    • Downside = only most serious offenders included


New system nibrs
New System = NIBRS

  • Get more detailed information about each “incident” (violent only)

    • Law Enforcement’s assessment of which crimes were committed by juveniles based on report/other evidence

      • 19% of the victims of nonfatal violent crimes were victimized by juvenile offender(s)

        • Most victims (62%) in these offenses were also juveniles

        • Some differences (e.g., robbery = 42%)

      • Most offenses involved victims known to offenders (only 12% were against strangers).


National crime victimization survey ncvs
National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

  • National household victimization survey

    • For juveniles, cannot assess property crime

    • National Trends for Juvenile Violent Crime can be estimated

      • Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Forcible Rape (Not Murder)

  • Upside = dark figure

  • Downside = know age of offender?


Self report surveys
Self-Report Surveys

  • No government sponsored annual national level survey (not used for “trends”)

    • Many different researchers with national surveys, some longitudinal:

      • National Youth Survey (NYS)

      • National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY)

      • Monitoring the Future Survey

  • Best Uses = Correlates of Delinquency

    • Especial for theory testing, but also race and gender differences


Self report ii
Self-Report II

  • The Good

    • Measure all kinds of correlates

    • Not subject to “official bias”

  • The Bad

    • Difficult to measure serious crime (rare event)

    • Difficult to get/retain chronic offenders

      • Therefore, SR surveys tend to measure minor forms of delinquency

    • Various survey biases (people lie, can’t remember, etc.)


What do we know current levels of delinquency
What do we know? Current Levels of Delinquency

  • 2002 UCR Arrest Information (<18 years)

    • 2.3 million arrests

    • Arrests peaked in 1994, and declined thereafter (NCVS follow similar pattern)

      • Violent Crime Index declined for 8th straight year (down 47% from 1994-2002)

      • Murder rate from 1993-2002 down 74%

  • Self-Report: 20% of 12th Graders report using an illicit drug in past 30 days.


Self report example mtf use of pot in past 30 days
Self-Report ExampleMTF: Use of Pot in Past 30 Days

Percent Using in Past 30 Days


What does the ncvs say
What does the NCVS say?

  • Confined to Violent Crime

  • Unsurprising much violent juvenile offending unreported to police

    • Average Crime Rate—1980 to 1998

      • UCR: 5/100,000

      • NCVS: 44-75/100,000

    • Why? (From victim survey)

      • Only 20% reported to police

      • Of those, only 50% lead to arrest


Ncvs crime trends
NCVS Crime Trends

  • The Broad Trend in UCR Violent Crime Index is similar to NCVS (Violent Crimes)

    • Both decrease in early 1980s, followed by increase from mid-1980s to mid 1990s

    • Both show substantial drop after mid 1990s

  • Differences?

    • NCVS offending drops more (60%) in late 1990s than UCR (27%)


Why has juvenile crime declined
Why has juvenile crime declined?

Juveniles have declined in the population?

NO: The proportion of juveniles has been

increasing in the 1990s (echo boomers are coming)

Poverty, Economy, Public Policy?

No clear indications of This

Best Argument I’ve Seen?

Crack Epidemic Produced most of the violence

in…now the drug markets have stabilized


Super predators ideology and a fools errand
“Super Predators”: Ideology and A Fools Errand

  • William Bennett, John DiIulio and John Walter Body Count (1996)

    • Super Predators Thesis

    • Juvenile crime rates will continue to spiral out of control

    • By 2010, some 270,000 “SP’s” will wreck havoc on society

      • TIME Magazine (1996): “Ticking Time Bomb”

    • Advocated unsealing juvenile records, mandatory minimums, waiver…”get tough”

      • Legislation Follows (G.W. in Texas)


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