ERIC Number: ED501722
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Arresting Children: Examining Recent Trends in Preteen Crime
Butts, Jeffrey A.; Snyder, Howard N.
Chapin Hall Center for Children
The public believes that today's juvenile offenders are younger than those of 20 or 25 years ago, and this common perception influences juvenile justice policy. To assess whether the age profile of juvenile delinquents has in fact changed, juvenile crime patterns from 1980 through 2006 were tracked by examining data collected by law enforcement agencies across the country. This report finds that the age profile of juvenile offenders has not changed substantially in 25 years. Crime rates among children under age 13 have generally followed the same crime patterns exhibited among older youth. In a few offense categories, however, increases in preteen crime have outpaced increases among older juveniles, particularly sexual offenses, assaults, and weapons possession (not necessarily firearms). The fact that school authorities and family members often report these offenses suggests a possible hypothesis to explain increases in some preteen crimes: The juvenile justice system today may be dealing with child behavior problems that were once the responsibility of social welfare agencies, schools, and families. (Contains 5 tables and 4 figures.)
Descriptors: Behavior Problems, Crime, Child Behavior, Law Enforcement, Juvenile Justice, Profiles, Delinquency, Preadolescents, Age Differences, Trend Analysis, Violence, Individual Characteristics
Chapin Hall Center for Children. 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-753-5900; Fax: 773-753-5940; Web site: http://www.chapinhall.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Chicago Univ., IL. Chapin Hall Center for Children.