EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL OJJDP
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2000 at 2:00 p.m. 202/307-0703
YOUTH MURDER ARREST RATE LOWEST SINCE 1960's
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The juvenile arrest rate for murder in the U.S. fell 68 percent from 1993 to 1999, reaching its lowest level since 1966, Attorney General Janet Reno announced today at the National Conference of the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The juvenile arrest rate for violent crime overall dropped 36 percent from 1994 to 1999 and is the lowest since 1988.
“These significant new figures reflect so much hard work and dedication at the federal, state and local levels,” said Reno. “The reduced level of violent crime also shows how the power of prevention, when combined with constructive intervention and strengthened juvenile justice systems that hold every offender accountable, makes our communities safer.”
Juvenile Arrests 1999, which OJJDP released today, analyzes data from the FBI’s 1999 Uniform Crime Reports. The juvenile arrest rate is defined by the number of arrests per 100,000 juveniles age 10 through 17. In addition to murder, the bulletin reports substantial drops in the juvenile arrest rate for every other violent crime:
· Forcible rape -- down 31 percent from 1991 to 1999 -- lowest level since 1980.
· Robbery – down 53 percent from 1994 to 1999 – lowest level since 1980.
· Aggravated assault -- down 24 percent from 1994 to 1999 -- lowest level since 1989.
In 1999, the juvenile arrest rate for violent crime was 339 arrests per 100,000 juveniles. This means that approximately one-third of one percent of juveniles were arrested for a violent crime in 1999.
The juvenile arrest rate for property crime, which had remained fairly level for most of the 1990s, fell 23 percent from 1997 to 1999. Each individual property crime also showed declines:
· Burglary – down 60 percent from 1980 to 1999.
· Larceny/theft – down 23 percent from 1997 to 1999.
· Motor vehicle theft – down 52 percent from 1990 to 1999.
· Arson – down 25 percent from 1994 to 1999.
In addition, the juvenile arrest rate for weapons law violations fell by 39 percent from 1993 to 1999 -- its lowest level since 1988.
Even juvenile arrest rates that had increased during most of the 1990s declined in recent years. The rate for drug abuse violations dropped by 13 percent from 1997 to 1999, while the rate for curfew and loitering violations dropped 17 percent over the same time period.
The Attorney General made this announcement as a part of her address on the future of juvenile justice and the need to listen to young people. She was joined by OJJDP Acting Administrator John J. Wilson and four young people who have each taken an active role in encouraging youth involvement in crime prevention: Missy Jenkins, who was wounded in the 1997 Paducah, Kentucky school shooting; two National Youth Network members, Demar Roberts from Springtree, South Carolina and Emily Spencer from Norfolk, Virginia; and Kelly Standiford, 1999-2000 National Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Student of the Year.
“It’s easy to say that ‘Children are our future,’ but we have to demonstrate that we really believe it by listening to them and making sure they have a chance to be heard,” said Wilson. “So many young people want to help reduce juvenile violence, and we need to find ways to allow them to participate.”
The third OJJDP National Conference, which began on Tuesday and concluded today, brought together more than 1,500 criminal and juvenile justice practitioners, government leaders and researchers from across the country. They exchanged ideas and learned about innovative approaches to combating youth violence and substance abuse. Plenary sessions and workshop topics included mental health, juvenile sex offenders, school violence, youth gangs, parenting, media literacy, youth arts programs and Internet child victimization.
Juvenile Arrests 1999 was prepared by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, supported by a cooperative agreement with OJJDP. Copies are available through the OJJDP Website at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org. Information about other OJJDP publications, programs and conferences is also available through the Website or the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
Information about other bureaus and program offices in the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.
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