Criminal statistics by age can provide information to the public regarding the prevalence of violent and property crimes among certain age groups in the country and perhaps even specific regions. Statistical evidence, though showing a probability of trend, is also never fool-proof and should only be used as a guide for informative purposes.
The two major sources of criminal statistics by age used here are the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for 2009, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, or NCVS, for 2008. The difference between the two reports is that the UCR gathers information from law enforcement agencies regarding crimes that were reported, and the NCVS gathers information regarding crimes that may or may not have been reported to authorities.
Age of Offender
Criminal statistics by age of offender are provided by both the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. According to the 2009 UCR, of the 15,760 total homicides committed in the U.S., 923 offenders were under the age of 18, 3,541 were under the age of 22, and 9,846 were 18 or over. One homicide was attributed to a child between the ages of five and eight, 465 were attributed to juveniles aged 13 to 16, and 1,765 were attributed to those aged 17 to 19.
Adult offenders were mostly between the ages of 20 to 24, with a total of 2,682 offenders in this age range. 1,794 offenders were between the ages of 25 to 29, and 1,123 were between 30 and 34. However, 4,991 offenders were of unknown age.
Information published by the NCVS supports the FBI’s report in that most violent crime offenders are over the age of 18. However, 23.7 percent of violent offenders were classified as between the ages of 12 and 20, 23.3 were between 21 and 29, and 38.7 were over the age of 30. Further detailed information shows that violent offenders between the ages of 12 and 20 were the group which committed the highest percentage of rape/sexual assault, and offenders aged 30 and over made up the largest percentage of attempted/threatened violence.
Age of Victim
The NCVS provides information regarding the percentages of age populations of victims for all personal crimes. These crimes include purse snatching, as well as violent crimes such as rape, robbery and assault. At a rate calculated per 1,000 persons, the largest group of victims was those aged 12 to 15, at a rate of 43.6. Victims aged 16 to 19 were listed at a 37.4 rate, ages 20 to 24 at a rate of 38.4, ages 25 to 34 at 23.8, ages 35 to 49 at 17.4, ages 50 to 64 at 11.1, and ages 65 or older at a rate of 3.5. Further details provided include that the crimes most often committed against these victims aged 12 to 15 are attempted/threatened violence or assault.