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Crime Trends: Drug Abuse in Adults and Juveniles

Analysing crime trends in the US, one notes a mixed trends in the different crimes over the years. Drug abuse for example increased steadily from the 1970s in both the adult and juvenile populations. While drug related arrest made in 1970 were at 322,300 adults and 93,300 in juveniles, the same hit the 1 million mark in 1988 among adults and 104, 600 among juveniles. Notably, there was an increase of 3.26 in adult drug offenders in just 18 years.

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With the exception of 1991 and 1992 when statics indicated that nabbed drug offenders were at 931,900 and 980,700 respectively, the numbers have never gone below the 1 million mark. In 2007, adult drug offenders were at 1,645, 500 people. Unlike the adult population however, numbers of juvenile offenders have retained at a near static position with the largest number of arrests made by police being 203,900 juveniles in 2000. By 2007, drug related arrest in the juvenile age category had reduce to 195,700 (BJS, 2010).

A look at violent crimes statistics that led to non-fatal firearm incidences, reveals a steady decline from 1992 where the number of incidences stood at 1,054, 820 representing 11 percent of all violent crimes in the country and 303,880 in 2008 representing 7 percent of all violent crimes in the country. The lowest non-fatal firearm incidences were observed in 2004, when the number was at 280,890 representing 6 percent of all violent crimes in the country. Unfortunately, the country experienced a rapid rise in such crimes with 416, 940 reported cases and 474,110 victims. The 2005 incidences represented 9 percent of the violent crimes in the country (BJS, 2010).

More serious firearm crimes, which include murder, aggravated assault and robberies with firearms, were stable in the 1970s. The crimes reported to the law enforcement authorities were at an all time high in 1993, when there were 581, 697 incidences. From 1998 to 2007 however, the numbers have stabilised at a mean of 358,626 incidences. Notably, the rate of murder using firearms has always been the least compared with robberies and aggravated assaults. In 1973 for example, the rate of murder committed with a firearm was at 6.2 per 1,000 people, while the same for robberies was a 114.9/1000 persons.

Rates of aggravated assaults where a firearm was used stood at 51.0/1000 people population. In 2007, the rates had gone down to 3.8 and 63.2 for murder and robberies respectively, while the rate for aggravated violence where firearm was used had gone up to 60.7. In 1993 where the use of weapons was at an all time high, the incidence of firearm use in aggravated violence was at an equally high rate of 110.5 (BJS, 2010).

Analyzing homicides statistics between 1970 and 2007 reveals that people aged between 14 and 17 years are less likely to commit homicides as compared to the 18-24 age group who are the most likely to engage in homicide tendencies even when compared to people aged more than 25 years or older. The all time low homicide incidences in the 1970-2007 period among the 14-17 age group was observed in 1981 when the rates stood at 4.1 per 1,000 people. In the 15-24 age group however, the lowest ever rates was 10.8 observed in 1970. During the 1970-2007 period, the highest ever rate in this age group was observed in 1993 at 24.8. In the adult population, the least rate was 4.6 observed in 2000, while the highest rate was 12.3 observed in 1974 (BJS, 2010).

Between 1973 and 2008, the number of property crimes (motor vehicle theft, theft and burglary) has steadily declined from a rate of 519.9 per a thousand households in 1973 to a rate of 134.7 in every 1000 households in America. Rates of violent victimization reveal that since 1973 to 2007, men were more likely to suffer violent crimes than women. The same data also reveals that at ages 20 to 24, one is more likely to be a victim of violence than when they are older or younger. The African-Americans were also found to be more likely to fall victims to violence than the white population, although crime for both blacks and whites have steadily declined over the years to settle at 5.7 and 10.3 per 1,000 persons respectively in 2007, down from 20.0 and 37.3 rates per 1,000 people observed in 1973 amongst the white and black populations respectively (BJS, 2010).

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The rates of violent crimes (simple & aggravated assaults, robbery, murder and rape) in the country between 1973 and 2007 have been pretty unstable with the rates reaching a high of 52.3 per every 1,000 people in 1981. A steady decline is however observed from 1997 when the rates stood at 38.8/1000 persons. By 2008, the rate was 19.3/1000 persons. Rape crimes have been quite steady between 1973 and 2008 with the all time high rate ever recorded during the period being 2.8/1000 persons in 1979. In 2008, this number had declined to 0.5/1000 persons. Although there was a notable decline in the number of simple assault crimes on individuals, the rates were still high compared to other crimes. In 1973 for example, the rate of simple assault was 25.9 people in every 1,000 people. By 2008, the rate had declined to 12.9/1000 people (BJS, 2010).


Bureau of Justice Statistic. (2010). Crime Trends. Web.

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