Theft and Juvenile Delinquency: Where Are Teens Most Likely to Steal?

Posted by , , at 1:43 pm

When your brain is still developing, it can be hard to make every decision a good one. And the more risk factors you’ve faced, the more likely you are to make a bad one–and land at the police station for it.

But there’s hope for children and teens who have committed crimes—rehab programs that take a therapeutic approach can help them reverse course, and juvenile justice advocates work hard to give them a second chance.

Below are the top 10 states with the lowest and highest juvenile crime rates, specifically for theft.

Methodology

We found the juvenile crime rate in each state by searching the OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book (2017) for the number of arrests made per 100,000 young persons between the ages of 10 and 17. We limited our results to crimes of theft, which the OJJDP divides into larceny (stealing from a car, porch, or person without threatening them) or robbery (stealing by force or threat of force). Finally, we scored and ranked each state.

Important Considerations 

> Nebraska, Illinois, and New Mexico were not included due to low reporting percentages.

> No single conclusion can be made about a state or its residents based on juvenile delinquency rates. Arrest numbers depend on policing style, judiciary trends, and community expectations, to name just three factors.

Data Highlights

  • West Virginia has the lowest juvenile larceny arrest rate (151 per 100,000 youth) of the 47 states we looked at. Louisiana, the state with the highest rate, has about eight times more arrests (1,173 arrests per 100,000 youth).
  • Vermont has the lowest juvenile robbery arrest rate (just 2 per 100,000 youth). Maryland has the highest rate (205 per 100,000).
  • Nationwide, 60 of every 100,000 youth were arrested for robbery, and 527 of every 100,000 youth were arrested for larceny.
  • Three-fifths of youths arrested by police are referred to a court with juvenile jurisdiction. The other two-fifths may be referred to other services, like drug or behavioral rehab, or have their cases dismissed.
  • Juvenile delinquency is trending down nationwide. In 2017, US juvenile courts handled the fewest number of cases since the mid-1970s.

Results

(Rank Note: 1 = Highest Juvenile Theft Rate, 47 = Lowest)

StateRobbery ArrestsLarceny ArrestsTotal ArrestsRank
Maryland20581910241
Louisiana68117312412
Wisconsin55105211073
Florida818279084
Minnesota688869545
Delaware907128026
South Dakota17104010577
Iowa339249578
South Carolina557347899
Nevada11642153710
North Carolina7065172111
Arizona6666673212
Tennessee6466372713
Colorado4475179514
North Dakota1191092115
Montana1587488916
Pennsylvania8948457317
Missouri4665670218
New York6651558119
Indiana4759163820
Wyoming578979421
Connecticut5552257722
Mississippi4954859723
Georgia4356761024
Utah1968069925
Idaho1068469426
Alaska2658661227
Arkansas3453356728
Maine1065166129
Hawaii4346350630
Oklahoma3450253631
Washington5141246332
Virginia4145950033
Oregon3051454434
Texas4941045935
Rhode Island4443247636
California7326433737
Ohio3643747338
New Jersey5931337239
Michigan2842245040
Kentucky4831936741
Alabama3032935942
Kansas1332834143
New Hampshire1430932344
Massachusetts2919422345
Vermont225725946
West Virginia615115747

Takeaways

Juvenile delinquency happens, in some places more than others, but it’s on the decline. Do your parenting homework, set healthy boundaries with potentially bored youths, and then feel free to believe in America’s future.

Leave a Comment

*