The Overrepresentation of Juvenile Crime Proportions in Robbery Clearance Statistics
Many, especially casual observers, interpret juvenile arrest statistics to bea measure of crime committed by juveniles. Others argue that clearancestatistics are a more representative index of the relative responsibility ofjuveniles. Using data from the FBI's National Incident-Based ReportingSystem, this paper explores the likelihoods of arrests for juvenile andadult robbery offenders. The findings show that juvenile robbery suspectsare 23% more likely to be arrested than adults, and 32% more likely aftercontrolling for other incident characteristics. Analyses also found anincreased likelihood of arrest in robbery incidents in which (1) the victimwas a juvenile, a female, or white; (2) the offender was white or female;and (3) the victim was injured. The presence of a weapon was not relatedto the likelihood of arrest. The differential influences of specificincident characteristics on the likelihood of arrest for juveniles andadults highlight the underlying biases of law enforcement statistics inassessing the juvenile component of crime.
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