Youth and Violence Facts
Guns killed 4,205 children under the age of nineteen in 1997-that is nearly twelve children each day. Of that number, 2,562 were victims of murder, 1,262 died by suicide, and 306 were victims of accidental shootings.
The number of children killed with guns increased substantially between 1987 and 1993, while the numbers of other types of homicide remained constant. Between 1980 and 1997, 75 percent of all children age twelve and over who were murdered were killed with a firearm.
Children between the ages of twelve and seventeen are twice as likely as adults to be victims of violent crime and three times as likely to be victims of simple assault.
Although the total number of multiple-victim school homicides has increased in recent years, the total number of school-associated violent deaths has actually decreased. A student has a less than one in 1,000,000 chance of becoming a victim of a school-associated homicide.
A recent survey indicated that the number of high school students bringing weapons to school has declined. Sadly, however, nearly 10 percent still reported having carried a gun on school property during the previous month.
The peak hours for violent youth crime are between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. After-school programs can serve several goals including keeping kids out of trouble and keeping youngsters safe.
Violent juvenile crime arrest rates have actually declined by 19 percent since 1994.
Despite this decrease, children are increasingly being tried as adults and confined in adult jails and prisons. A recent study indicated as much as a 35 percent increase in the confinement of juveniles in adult detention centers.
Children detained in adult jails and prisons rather than in juvenile facilities are eight times more likely to commit suicide, five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, two times more likely to be assaulted by staff, and 50 percent more likely to be attacked with a weapon.
Although minorities make up only about one-third of the youth population, they account for about two-thirds of the juveniles committed to public facilities. Studies have shown that black youths are about twice as likely as white youths to be detained for the same offense and that they are detained an average of two weeks longer than white youths for the same offenses.