Causal relationships are difficult to identify in complex and multi-part initiatives, but New York City’s falling rate of gun violence suggests that recent community initiatives may have helped to sustain previous gains.
Policymakers, advocates, and even some researchers claim that youth confinement rates across the United States dropped in recent years due to changes in policy and practice. Such claims remain unproven, but voters and elected officials are inclined to accept them as factual because they are offered by reputable agencies and repeated in news media sources. Without reliable evidence, however, the notion that state-level youth confinement rates fall primarily in response to progressive policy reforms is merely appealing rhetoric.
Based on the latest statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the national violent crime arrest rate declined 38 percent overall between 1988 and 2018, but the steepest declines were observed among youth ages 10 to 14 (–53%) and 15 to 17 (–54%). The arrest rate for 18-20 year-olds dropped 47 percent while the arrest rates for adults ages 21-24 and 25-49 declined 42 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
Data Source: Violent crimes reported to the Uniform Crime Reports program, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, as prepared by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data and disseminated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DC (www.ucrdatatool.gov) for 1985-2012 as well as data obtained directly from FBI reports for 2013, 2014 and [...]