DCLY March 2012 Issue Brief - Youth Arrest Trends in the District of Columbia (2007-2011)

Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) statistics show that youth arrests are at a five-year low after having declined 15 percent since a recent peak in 2009.  MPD statistics also demonstrate that youth arrests in 2011 accounted for the lowest proportion of overall arrests than any other point in the last five years, that youth arrests over a variety of offense categories have declined substantially over the last five years, and that youth arrests for homicide in the District are at an all-time low since 2007.

This brief analyzes data pertaining to youth arrests in the District over the last five years.

It is pertinent to note that, in early 2011, MPD began categorizing arrest data more accurately by offense.  As a result, the casual observer may look at the statistics and believe that there were substantial increases in certain categories of offenses in 2011.  However, as the brief explains, the degree of these increases results from MPD’s change in data recording, not from an actual increase in arrests in those categories. This brief examines the broader trends likely unaffected by MPD’s improved categorization, and it qualifies findings as necessary.

Download: Youth Arrest Trends in the District of Columbia (2007-2011)