U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Juvenile Vandalism, 1997

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2000
2 pages
This report provides data on arrests and formal court processing of juvenile vandalism cases in the United States for 1997 and between 1988 and 1997.
"Vandalism" is defined by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Programs 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 1997 law enforcement agencies made approximately 136,500 arrests of persons under age 18 for vandalism. This represented 44 percent of all vandalism arrests; males accounted for the majority (88 percent) of the juvenile arrests. The racial distribution of youth arrested for vandalism in 1997 generally reflected their profile in the general population. Overall, the juvenile arrest rate for vandalism declined between 1980 and 1982 and then gradually increased to reach a high of 496 arrests per 100,000 youth ages 10-17 in 1994. As with juvenile arrest rates overall, the juvenile arrest rate for vandalism declined between 1994 and 1997, and the 1997 rate was nearly the average of the prior 17 years. Female arrest rates for vandalism increased steadily between 1981 and 1997, increasing from 8 percent to 12 percent during this period. Vandalism was the most serious offense in 14 percent of all property cases disposed by juvenile courts in 1997. In 1988, 38 percent of the juvenile vandalism cases referred to juvenile courts were handled formally. This proportion increased to 51 percent in 1997. In 1997, 54 percent of formally processed vandalism cases resulted in youth being adjudicated delinquent. Probation was the most serious disposition ordered in more than 60 percent of these cases. 2 figures

Date Published: July 1, 2000