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Key Facts About Youth Violence

These statistics should inspire all of us to work together for change. Unfortunately, they provide additional inspiration for the Stop the  Violence Campaign.

Violence is the second leading cause of death for  young people in America and the leading cause of death for young people in every major city.

American young people are five to ten times more likely  to die from violence than children in any other industrialized nation.

Juvenile violence and crime triple in the hour  immediately after school.

Every year, an average of 3,024 children die in the  United States from gunfire.

76% of youth homicides involve people who know each other  and homicide rates in Los Angeles County are twice that of the rest of  California; three times that of the rest of the Nation.

Almost 38,000 juveniles were murdered between 1980 and 1997, one in four involved a juvenile offender, and 77% were killed with a firearm.

More than one in four identified juvenile murderers in  1997 were located in eight of the Nation’s more than 3,000 counties. Of  the major cities in these eight counties with the greatest number of  juvenile homicide offenders, Los Angeles ranked second. These eight  counties contain just 12% of the U.S. population.

One in five juvenile arrestees carried a handgun all or  most of the time.

More than half of all 16-year-olds who ever committed assault, carried a handgun, or belonged to a gang had done so for the  first time by age 12.

Fewer than half of serious violent crimes committed by juveniles are reported to law enforcement.

The proportion of homicides committed with a firearm between 1987 and 1993 increased dramatically and has not declined.

The direct and indirect costs to Americans of violent  crimes and crimes involving property are $425 billion each year.

In 1995, for the first time, states around the country  spent more money building prisons than colleges.

Through further analysis of Department compiled statistics, the  Department has determined that in Los Angeles:
  • 80% of violent crimes are committed by youths 14 through 24 years old.
  • 85% of the victims are male Hispanic and African Americans.
  • Most violent crime victims are between 14 and 24 years old.
  • Most suspects know their victims.
  • Most of the violent crimes occur in the minority communities.
  • Within the next 10 years, the crime-prone age group will increase  40%.


Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National report, H.  Snyder and M. Sickmund, Washington D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1999.

World Health Organization, 1990.

Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997; data based on eight states.

The U.S. Mortality Detail File, Rockville, MD: Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, 1995.
1999 National Report Series: Juvenile Justice Bulletin: Kids  and Guns, May 2000, Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, Rockville, MD.

From Classrooms to Cell Blocks: A National Perspective,  Tara-Jen Ambrosio and Vincent Schiraldi, Washington D.C.: Justice  Policy Institute, 1997.

The Economics of Crime, C. Farrell, Business  Week, December 13, 1993: pp.72-80.