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Juvenile Vandalism, 1996

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1998
2 pages
Data on nationwide juvenile vandalism cases for 1996 address the demographic characteristics of offenders and the number of vandalism cases involved in formal court processing between 1986 and 1995.
The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines vandalism as "willful or malicious destruction, injury, disfigurement, or defacement of any public or private property, real or personal, without the consent of the owner or persons having custody or control." In 1996 law enforcement agencies made an estimated 141,600 arrests of persons under age 18 for vandalism, representing 44 percent of all arrests for vandalism. Males (89 percent) and youth younger than 16 (63 percent) accounted for the majority of juvenile arrests for vandalism. The juvenile vandalism arrest rate remained virtually unchanged between 1980 and 1988 (per 100,000 persons, ages 10-17, 398 and 391, respectively) and increased to a high of 497 in 1994. By 1996 the juvenile vandalism arrest rate had declined to 455. In 1995 an estimated 121,700 vandalism cases were processed by courts with juvenile jurisdiction. Between 1986 and 1994, the number of vandalism cases increased 43 percent (from 86,700 to 124,000 cases) and then decreased 2 percent between 1994 and 1995. In 1995, 52 percent of the vandalism cases referred to juvenile courts were handled informally. Nearly half of these cases were dismissed. In 1986, 37 percent of the juvenile vandalism cases referred to juvenile court were handled formally; this increased to 40 percent in 1991; however, in 1995 nearly half the vandalism cases referred to juvenile court were formally processed. In 1995, 53 percent of formally processed cases resulted in the youth being adjudicated delinquent by the court. Probation was the most serious disposition ordered by the court in more than half (58 percent) of these adjudicated cases. 1 figure

Date Published: October 1, 1998