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Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Age-specific Arrest Rate Trends
Q: What is the trend for age-specific arrest rates for drug law violations?
A: Across ages, drug abuse violation arrest rates were higher in 2011 than in 1980.

Drug law violation arrests per 100,000 population, 1980, 1997, 2011

Age 1980 1997 2011

10 to 12 14.6 34.0 26.3
13 to 14 185.6 393.3 269.4
Age 15 515.1 952.7 615.3
Age 16 767.7 1,547.0 924.6
Age 17 986.4 2,084.4 1,344.3
Age 18 1,144.3 2,711.1 2,047.4
Age 19 1,111.4 2,470.7 2,104.0
Age 20 1,052.2 2,170.8 1,936.5
Age 21 973.3 1,945.8 1,746.6
Age 22 875.1 1,711.1 1,631.9
Age 23 778.0 1,579.4 1,504.4
Age 24 707.1 1,434.4 1,432.4
25 to 29 485.6 1,171.8 1,166.6
30 to 34 262.6 1,005.4 870.5
35 to 39 139.7 832.7 594.8
40 to 44 79.9 563.2 480.0
45 to 49 49.8 310.0 388.5
50 to 54 30.0 144.3 258.2
55 to 59 22.6 71.6 133.5
60 to 64 13.1 34.0 59.2

[ Graph version ]  [ Excel file ]

  • The peak year for juvenile drug abuse violation arrest rates was 1997. Between 1980 and 1997, arrest rates doubled on average for youth ages 15-17, as did arrest rates for adults ages 18-24. By comparison, rates for adults ages 30-34 tripled and rates for those ages 40-44 increased by a factor of 6.
  • Between 1997 and 2011, drug abuse violation arrest rates declined for juveniles and most adults. For example, the rate fell 37% for youth ages 15-17, compared with 17% for adults ages 18-20 and 5% for adults age 21-24.
  • Overall from 1980 to 2011, the drug abuse violation arrest rates for youth ages 15-17 increased 25%. In comparison, the rates increased more for adults age 18 and older. More specifically, the rates increased 88% for adults ages 18-24, 140% for adults ages 25-29, 231% for those ages 30-34, 326% for those ages 35-39, and 501% for those ages 40-44. Even the arrest rates for adults ages 60-64 increased 352%.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/qa05308.asp?qaDate=2011. Released on February 25, 2014.

Data Source: Arrest estimates developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through “Arrest Data Analysis Tool.” Online. Available from the BJS website.

 

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