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This bulletin, extracted from "Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report," examines juvenile crime statistics, demonstrating that the predictions in the early 1990s of the emergence of juvenile superpredators (juveniles for whom violence is a way of life) is not supported by current data. Research indicates that levels of predatory crimes (rape, robbery, and murder) committed by juveniles have dropped significantly in recent years, with robbery at its lowest level in a generation. Juvenile violence did, however, increase briefly in the early 1990s, and violent crime arrest rates increased for all age groups. This trend reflected changes in public attitudes and law enforcement policy rather than simply an increase in crime. The large growth in juvenile arrests for murder between 1987-93 was not due to changes in police response but rather an actual increase in homicides by juveniles, which can be explained by factors other than the advent of juvenile superpredators (specifically, an increase in weapons). This analysis of juvenile homicide arrests suggests that juvenile superpredators are more myth than reality. The report shows that changes in juvenile violent crime arrests are not closely tied to changes in the juvenile population. (SM)

Descriptors: Adolescents, Children, Delinquency, Elementary Secondary Education, Homicide, Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement, Population Trends, Violence

Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000. Tel: 800-638-8736 (Toll Free); Web site:

Autor: Snyder, Howard N.; Sickmund, Melissa


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