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Chapter 2 Notes

by: Michela Spicer

Chapter 2 Notes CJ 240

Michela Spicer
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About this Document

These notes cover The Nature and Extent of Delinquency: Measuring Delinquency.
Juvenile Delinquency
Joshua Wakeham
Class Notes




Popular in Juvenile Delinquency

Popular in Criminal Justice

This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Michela Spicer on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 240 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Joshua Wakeham in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Juvenile Delinquency in Criminal Justice at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.

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Popular in Criminal Justice


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Date Created: 09/02/16
Studying Juvenile Delinquency  There are a lot of ideas and opinions about young people and crime out there  Our goal: to study juvenile delinquency in a rigorous and systematic manner  Rigorous and systematic study oIdentify better or worse sources of information o Understand the benefits and limits of any particular source of information o Be wary of the potential for biases in data o Understand how perceptions of crime are distorted by media and politics Beyond Stories  “Anecdotal” evidence? oNot necessarily generalizable oIs the story accurate?  Large data sets can give us a more accurate sense of the bigger picture The Measure of a Number  Quantitative measures of crime are an important criminological tool, but most measures have weaknesses or flaws  See statistics  Ask: oWhat are the numbers supposed to represent? oWhere do the numbers come from? oWhat don’t these numbers tell us? Common Types of Measures  Measure of incidence o Example: 400 arrests for arson; 1.5 million cases processed in juvenile court  Prevalance Measure oExample: 25% of 15 to 16 year olds admit to underage drinking  Rates oNumber of crimes/size of population x 100,000 oExample: 213 shootings per 100,000 people  Percentage change o Example: 25% increase in armed robberies; 200% decrease in motor vehicle theft Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics  The underreporting/classification problems oOfficials often have incentives to “fudge” crime statistics  Small numbers and big % change o Example: 4 homocides in 2013; 8 homocides in 2014 = 100% increase in homocides  Misleading comparisons oExample: FBI’s “safest” vs “most dangerous” cities  Short-term vs Long-term thinking o Example: comparing month-to-month increase when overall trend is downward Sources of Measurement  Social scientists rely on multiple sources for data about juvenile crime, each with its strengths and weaknesses: oOfficial/administrative data oVictim surveys oSelf-report surveys oOther secondary sources Official Data  FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) oAll arrest data reported to FBI each year oGoes back to 1930 oReports Index (Part 1) and Non-Index (Part 2) offenses:  8 indexed crimes: violent and property  21 non-index crimes  UCR strengths oBest arrest national data out there  UCR weaknesses oSome locales report voluntarily oOnly report worst crime from incident oDon’t report all individuals involved in same incident oData manipulation by police departments  New effort: National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) oAbout 6,400 law enforcement agencies in 31 states participate oBasic idea: provide brief account of incident and arrest, including:  Offender(s) and victim(s) information  All offenses committed during the incident  Juvenile Court Data o National Center of Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) collect (voluntary) data from juvenile courts o Provide a picture of juvenile court processes  General problem with using official/administrative data oOfficial definitions might not match with actual incident oIncentives to hide/mislead o The dark figure of crime problem remains- many crimes go unreported oHow do we get around it? Victim Surveys  National Crime Victimization Surveys (NCVS) oConducted annually since early 1970s oRepresentative national sample o2011: 79,800 households and 143,120 individuals oCover personal (violent) and property crime oConsistently reveals more crime than arrest data  Problems with NCVS oOverreporting oUnderreporting oInability to report criminal activity of those interviewed oPossible sampling errors oQuestion format may lead to problems with answers Self-Reports  Social scientists also simply ask people about their own criminal behavior oIn use since 1940s (1950s for juveniles)  Benefits?  Concerns? oMiss most serious crimes (rape and murder) oValidity, accuracy issues Other Sources of Data  Social scientists also use other sources of data for research: oCohort Research Data oExperimental Data oObservational and Interview Research oMeta-analysis and Systematic Review oData Mining oCrime Mapping Trends in Delinquency  Different data sources- UCR, NCVS- point to a decline in juvenile crime over the last 20 years  KEY: did anyone see this coming? oNo, in fact experts predicted the opposite The Bigger Picture  So why did experts not see the decline coming?  So how did experts explain the decline in crime? Some Good Guesses  Popular explanations in the media oInnovative policing strategies (NY vs Boston) oIncreased reliance on prisons oChanges in crack market oAging population oTougher gun control laws oStrong economy oIncreased number of police Levitt’s Analysis  Six factors that do not explain the drop in crime oStrong economy in 1990s oChanging demographics oBetter policing strategies oGun control laws oConcealed weapons permits oIncrease use of capital punishment  Four factors that do explain the decline oIncreases in the number of police oRising prison population oReceding crack epidemic oLegalization of abortion Limits of Levitt’s Analysis  Factors that appear to explain decline in crime in the 1990s don’t necessarily help explain the increase in crime in the 1970s and 1980s  Limited application to 2000s- crime continuing to decline Another Possibility  Reyes (2007): unleaded gasoline?  1970s- early 1980s: reduction in lead in environment (Clean Air Act) oLead  Brain Damage  Violent behavior oCorrelate strongly with drops in violent crime about 20 years later oClaim: reduction in lead  accounts for 56% of drop in violent crime Proportion of Juvenile Arrests Per Crime  There are about 73.5 million people under 18- about 1 in 4 people in the U.S.  There are about 33.5 million people between 10 and 17- about 1 in 9 or 11% of the U.S. population  Juveniles were involved in about 1 in 14 arrests for murder in 2014, 1 in 12 arrests for aggravated assault, and 1 in 5 arrests for robbery Crime and Gender  Why are boys arrested at such a higher rate than girls? Arrest Rate by Gender  All Crimes o Juvenile arrest rate for all crimes decreased substantially for both males and females since the peak in 1996, and is at the lowest level for both genders since 1980  Property Crimes o Male juvenile property crime index arrest rates generally declined since the late 1980s, but female rates declined only after 1994  Running Away o Why are girls arrested for running away at much higher rates than boys? o Male and female juvenile arrest rates for running away have declined steadily since 1994  Between 1994 and 2009, the rate for males fell 65% and the rate for females fell 68% o More than half (55%) of juvenile arrests for running away in 2009 involved a female Arrest Rate by Race o All Crimes o Between 1980 and 2011, the total juvenile arrest rate decreased 60% for Asians, 52% for American Indians, 37% for whites, and 15% for black juveniles  In 2011, there were 3,787 arrests of white juveniles for every 100,000 white persons ages 10-17 in the population  The Asian juvenile rate was about 30% of the white rate, the American Indian rate was 10% below the white rate, and the black rate was more than double the white rate  The overall juvenile arrest rate for black juveniles peaked in 1995  For the other three groups, it peaked in 1996 o Violent Crime o Violent Crime Index arrest rates increased substantially for juveniles in all racial groups between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s  The rate peaked in 1994 for black and white juveniles, in 1995 for American Indians, and in 1996 for Asians  Following these peaks, the rates declined through 2011 for Asians (78%), American Indian (68%), white (59%), and black (61%) o The arrest rate in 2011 for black juveniles was 5 times the rate for white juveniles, 6 times the rate for American Indian juveniles, and 15 times the rate for Asian juveniles o Murder o The murder arrest rate for white juveniles increased 72% between 1987 and 1991  The rate held at this level for 4 years before declining 72% between 1994 and 2011 o The murder arrest rate for black juveniles followed a similar pattern, but the swings were more dramatic o Between 1984 and 1993, the rate more than tripled (up 260%)  After the peak in 1993, the rate fell sharply, dropping 84% by 2011 o The black-to-white ratio in murder arrest rates for juveniles varied substantially during the 32-year period  In 1993, the black rate was nearly nine times the white rate  This ratio declined during the late 1990s/early 2000s, falling to about 5-to-1  In 2006, it peaked again at about 7-to-1, but then decreased through 2011, resting back at 5-to-1 o Drug Abuse Violations o Drug abuse violation arrest rates fell for all race groups between 2005 and 2014  Down 50% for blacks  Down 35% for whites  Down 21% for American Indians  Down 33% for Asians Explaining Racial/Ethnic Differences  Two broad explanations within criminology/sociology o Differential Offending Hypothesis: groups are differentially involved in criminal activity o Differential Treatment Hypothesis: groups are differentially treated by the criminal justice/juvenile justice system o Could be both, they are not mutually exclusive  Other theories oRole of long history of racial discrimination oCurrent discriminatory practices and policies by police, courts oPoverty/lack of opportunities oRole of culture/subculture Aging Out and Chronic Offending  Most juvenile offenders “age out” of crime  Why? oBrain development  maturity is about 25 years old oNo longer discounting the future oBetter problem solving skills oTaking on new social responsibilities oPersonalities change oMore “risk averse”  Not everyone “ages out” however- some delinquents go on to become chronic offenders  Chronic offenders oResponsible for significant amount of all crime oMore likely to start young (under 10) oHigh rates of repeat offending oSeem resistant to change, punishment Juvenile Victimization  Juveniles are also highly likely to be the victims of crimes perpetrated by adults or other juveniles o15 times more likely than someone over the age of 65  Relative chances of victimization oBoys > Girls oBlack youth > white youth  Victimization and criminal involvement are strongly correlated  Nearly half (47%) of juvenile murder victims in 2013 were black, 50% were white, and 3% were either American Indian or Asian  Violent victimization has declined for boys- roughly equally likely to be victims now


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