Alaska Juvenile Arrest Figures for 2000

Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. (Spring 2002). "Alaska Juvenile Arrest Figures for 2000." Alaska Justice Forum 19(1): 1, 6–7. In both Alaska and the U.S. as a whole, most juvenile arrests continue to involve property rather than violent crime. In 2000, juvenile arrests accounted for 16.2 percent of all arrests in Alaska — a percentage comparable to the national percentage for juvenile arrests. Juveniles in that year accounted for 46 percent of all arrests for property crimes, but only 16 percent of the arrests made for violent crimes.

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Both in Alaska and in the country as a whole, most juvenile arrests continue to involve property crime rather than violence. The rate of juvenile arrests in Alaska for all types of offenses was not considerably different in 2000 than it was in 1991, although over the ten-year period there were annual fluctuations in both the rate and overall number of reported arrests (Tables 1 and 2). The highest annual number of reported arrests occurred in 1994—6,737 reported arrests, a rate of 3,505 per 100,000 in the population under 18. In 2000 there were 5,953 arrests, a rate of 3,121.

The source for these figures is the Uniform Crime Reporting program of the FBI, an annual compilation of arrest figures from law enforcement agencies throughout the country. To monitor the extent of crime, the UCR assembles figures on total arrests and on eight particular offense categories designated as the Crime Index. These Index offenses include the violent crimes of murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and the property crimes of larceny-theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson.

Juvenile arrests were 16.2 per cent of all arrests in Alaska—a percentage similar to the national percentage for juvenile arrests (Table 1). Of the 5,953 reported juvenile arrests in Alaska for 2000, 2082 were for the Index property crimes and 197 were for the Index violent crimes. In general, over the decade there was a rise in the number of arrests for violent crimes, but the actual number of such arrests is still low in comparison to those for property crimes, and while close to 46 percent of those arrested for property crimes in Alaska were juveniles, juvenile arrests were only 16 percent of those made for violent crimes.

UCR figures reflect only the reported arrests from the participating agencies in a given state—not all agencies participate—so they are not comprehensive and from year to year may not reflect an identical population or geographical base. To provide as full a reference as possible for the entire state, the rates shown in Table 2 and the figure have been computed using Department of Labor figures for the whole state, not the population base of reporting agencies. In Alaska, from 21 to 26 police agencies regularly submit figures to the UCR. Many small bush communities do not participate in the program nor does Juneau, so all figures are somewhat low. Nevertheless, because the agencies that did usually participate during 1991-2000 period reflect substantially the same population and geographic base from year to year, the UCR figures for Alaska permit comparison from year to year except at one point—1997. As both the tables and figure show, in 1997 reported arrests were much lower. During this year only 19 agencies, which represented a substantially smaller population base (271,000) than is usually the case, reported to the UCR, so the large dip exhibited by the figure is probably somewhat a distortion.

Most juveniles arrested in Alaska are handled by the Division of Juvenile Justice in the Department of Health and Social Services, but individuals under 18 years of age arrested for some offenses may be referred to the adult system. (See accompanying articles.)

Figure 1. Juvenile Arrest Rates in Alaska, 1991-2000