In the realm of criminal law, the word “juvenile” is used to describe suspects and offenders under the age of eighteen. Juveniles are responsible for a large number of everyday offenses, often taking place in our schools, on our streets, and in our neighborhood establishments. Similar to adult crimes, juvenile crimes can include everything from minor scuffles with another young person to more serious assault charges to underage drinking and much more. Many juvenile offenses, however, go unreported, making it difficult to resolve many cases, and even more difficult to collect proper data for statistical purposes.
While unreported juvenile offenses make it more difficult to get a complete picture of the problem, there are still distinct trends that have been observed over time, revealing certain patterns in activity among youth offenders. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports the following:
• Juvenile offenses are not always minor. - While it is true that many juvenile crimes are minor in nature, many others are life-altering for both the offenders and victims. Homicide and other violent crimes, such as sexual and aggravated assault, as well as robbery are all prevalent among juvenile offenders. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that over 600 murders in the year 2014 alone included juvenile involvement.
• Violent juvenile crimes happen most often during the hours immediately after the school day is over. - Studies show violent crimes by youth tend to peak during afterschool hours, although there is also a spike on non-school days, particularly during the early evening hours from 7 to 9 p.m.
• Robbery has been reported as one of the most common youth crimes. - According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), past studies have revealed that robberies represented one of the largest percentages of youth offender involvement, with assault not far behind. Sexual assault was less common than other violent crimes, but still accounted for around 14 percent of all serious violent offense.
• Violent juvenile crimes involving a firearm typically take place during specific hours. - The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency also reports that 28 percent of firearm-related violent crimes committed by juveniles occur between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. Adult offenders who use firearms usually offend later in the evening compared to juveniles.
Consistent Patterns Over Time
Law enforcement agencies and government officials continue to review statistics, the nature of youth crimes and the times and rates at which they happen change. In the meantime, if someone you care about has been involved in a juvenile crime of any kind and you are concerned about protecting their rights, you need to speak with a qualified Joliet criminal defense attorney who can answer your questions and help represent the offender in a court of law. Contact the Law Office Jack L. Zaremba today for a free consultation.