Juvenile Offenders

February 11, 1970

Report Outline
Growth of Juvenile Crime in America
Changes in Treatment of Young Offenders
Proposed Reforms in Handling of Juveniles
Special Focus

Growth of Juvenile Crime in America

The crime problem is primarily a problem of youth. The most recent annual statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation from across the country indicate that youngsters under 18 years old are responsible for about one-half of all serious crime in the United States. Fifteen-year-olds commit more serious crimes than persona of any other age group. It follows that the most logical starting point at which to attack crime is early in life.

“The adult population of today is often simply the final product of the juvenile delinquency population of yesterday, a monument to the failures of our social institutions.” With those words of preface, a Senate subcommittee observed: “It is necessary, therefore, to view them together because crime today has become largely a problem of young people….” Unless we can learn to correct the institutions and rehabilitate the youth, the report warned, “we can expect an adult criminal population in the near future of unprecedented proportions.”

High Participation of Youth in Serious Crimes

The juvenile offender is most likely to be a young male living in a slum area of a large city. In its report on Violent Crime: Homicide, Assault, Rape and Robbery, issued Nov. 23, 1969, the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence found that the 26 largest American cities contained about 17 per cent of the country's population but accounted for about 45 per cent of all violent crimes reported in 1968. The commission further found that urban arrest rates for homicide were much higher among the 18–24 age group than among any other, and that arrests in the 15–24 age group for rape, robbery and aggravated assault far exceeded those of any other group. Of particular concern were the “dramatic and disturbing increases in arrest rates” of the 10–14 age group for two categories of violent crime, assault and robbery.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Juveniles and the Justice System
Sep. 11, 2015  Reforming Juvenile Justice
Mar. 05, 2010  Youth Violence
Nov. 07, 2008  Juvenile Justice
Apr. 27, 2001  Kids in Prison
Mar. 15, 1996  Preventing Juvenile Crime
Feb. 25, 1994  Juvenile Justice
Jul. 17, 1987  Troubled Teenagers
Nov. 28, 1986  Juvenile Justice
Jul. 27, 1979  Juvenile Justice
Feb. 11, 1970  Juvenile Offenders
Jul. 17, 1957  Reform of Delinquents
Sep. 25, 1953  Youngsters in Trouble
Sep. 08, 1950  Teen-Age Lawbreakers
Feb. 23, 1943  Juvenile Delinquency
Crime and Law Enforcement
Juvenile Justice