Chapter 2 -  The Extent of Delinquency (Measuring Delinquency)

FBI Crime Classifications: The Uniform Crime Reports  

FBI Crime Classifications: The Uniform Crime Reports 

Problems with the UCR 

      Note the number of scandals in recent years where several police departments were caught manipulating crime data

      See the study by Brownstein noted in the Ch. 2

      Many citizens have been reluctant to report crimes (e.g., rape victims)

      This is especially true for Part II offenses, such as drugs, DUI, minor assaults, etc.

Status Offenses 

      Running away


      Curfew law violations

      Liquor law violations (technically in most states these laws apply to those under 21)

      Incorrigible, unmanageable, beyond control, etc. which are often lumped together under a general heading, such as CHINS (Children in Need of Supervision) or PINS (Persons in Need of Supervision), etc.

 Sources of Data on Delinquency 

      Asks respondents to tell about their criminal activities.

      Measures the “dark figure of crime”.

      Reveals that crime is a very common activity.

      Demonstrates youth crime is spread throughout the social classes.

      Is probably a reliable measure of trends over a period of time.

      Respondents queried every six months about household and personal victimizations.

 What do self report studies tell us? 

      This is an annual report from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research that surveys around 3,000 youths selected randomly.

      Most youths committed at least one delinquent act during the previous year, but few got caught.

      Representative sample of 9,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 16

      Results shown in Table 2.7

      Few racial differences found.

      While several criticisms have been made, several methods have been devised to combat these problems, so that such surveys are highly reliable.

      Perhaps the most important findings of these surveys is that they show few racial differences as far as illegal drug use is concerned

      Yet the racial differences in arrests rates are huge, with black youth at least 5 times more likely to be arrested

 Children as Victims 

      Physical abuse - these are acts that caused or could have caused physical injury;

      Sexual abuse - includes sexual activities that could provide sexual gratification or financial benefit to the perpetrator (e.g., prostitution, pornography, etc.);

      Emotional abuse - verbal or emotional assault or omissions that caused or could have caused conduct, cognitive, affective, or other mental disorders;

      Physical neglect - abandonment, expulsion from home, failure to seek medical care, inadequate supervision, inadequate food, clothing, shelter, etc.

      Emotional neglect - inadequate nurturance or affection, permitting deviant behavior and other developmental or emotional needs;

      Educational neglect - permitting chronic truancy or other ignoring other educational needs. 

Long-term effects of Child Abuse 

      results in low self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, significant weight gain or loss, numerous illnesses, poor social relationships among others

      two words - running and away - and the important word is “away” for they are not so much running to somewhere, but running away from what is often an unbearable situation

      language deficiencies, learning problems, conflict with peers and teachers and the school itself (e.g., fights, vandalism, arson), poor academic performance and dropping out

      often used to block the pain (especially for sexual abuse victims)

       promiscuity, prostitution and early pregnancy

      sometimes severe violence (e.g., children killing parents)

      gender difference (boys turn it outward, while girls go inward) 

Juvenile Victims of Crime 

      fourth leading cause of death among children between 1 and 4

      third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 5 and 14

      the second leading cause of death for those between 15 and 24.

      the leading cause of death among black teenagers

      Black youth are far more likely to be homicide victims than whites (about a 5 to 1 ratio).

      Recent study found that among the 3,000 counties in the country, one-fourth of the juvenile homicides occurred in the five counties surrounding Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago (representing only 9% of the population)


      United States has a rate of firearm homicides for children (ages 0-14) was 16 times greater than the combined rates of 15 other countries

 The National Crime Victimization Survey 

      Journal of the American Medical Association study found that during the school years 1992-1993 and 1993-1994, a total of 63 students were reportedly murdered in school. 

      During the calendar years 1992 and 1993, a total of 7,294 youngsters between 5 and 19 were murdered away from school

 Delinquent Careers 

OJJDP report (Denver, Rochester and Pittsburgh 

·         Of these, most I called “chronic nuisances”  - mostly minor offenses, including status offenses

·         In short, as already noted, even for those involved in “serious delinquency” such involvement is of a rather short duration

·          This is a reflection of what criminologists call “maturational reform” – most kids “grow up”