DCLY May 2011 Fact Sheet - Examining the Examiner: The Real Facts about Juvenile Arrests in D.C.

An article in the Washington Examiner incorrectly recently claimed that recent data from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) demonstrates that "juvenile arrests have skyrocketed this year..."

A more careful and responsible consideration of the data makes clear that oversights were made in the Examiner’s analysis and that the increases described in the article do not equate with a spike in youth violence, but rather are due to a more proper characterization of juvenile arrests by MPD.

  • Total Juvenile Arrests Are Down:Despite the Examiner's claims, MPD data demonstrates that arrests of juveniles between January 1 and May 7 decreasedby 1.9 percent in 2011 as compared to the same time period in 2010.
  • MPD’s Appropriate Categorization of Arrests May Account for Perceived Increases:The chart in the Examiner article gave the impression that youth arrests had increased by 438 total in 2011 as a result in substantial increases over a wide range of offenses. However, the article completely failed to mention the parallel (and greater) stark decrease of 470 arrests in the categories of “Other Felonies” and “Other Misdemeanors.” The drop in arrests in these latter two categories more than accounts for the increase in the categories listed by the Examiner for its article. MPD should be applauded for its recent effort to more accurately categorize juvenile arrests in lieu of counting those arrests in the “other” felonies/misdemeanors categories. However, such proper categorization of arrests does not mean that youth crime is increasing.
  • Arrests for Homicide and Aggravated Assault are flat and down: The Examiner article also claims that juvenile arrests for Homicide, Rape, and Aggravated Assault “has risen 10 percent this year compared with last year.” However, arrests for homicides remained flat, and arrests for aggravated assaults fell by 9.5 percent in 2011. Thus, of these three categories of violent offenses isolated by the Examiner, the only category to increase according to the Examiner’s own chart is Rape/Sexual Abuse. However, again, it highly possible that this increase in arrests for Rape is the result of MPD more accurately categorizing arrests.

More Information

Download: DCLY's Fact Sheet Examining the Examiner: The Real Facts about Juvenile Arrests in D.C.

based on data from MPD's CJIS Report (January 1 to May 7, 2011)