Young individuals commit crimes at a higher rate than adults. On the other hand, the number has dropped significantly in recent years.
The crime rate tends to decrease with age. This is true for both boys and girls. There are several reasons why this might be the case. For example, as people get older they tend to have better jobs and lead safer lives. The younger someone is, the less likely it is that they will have been arrested before so there is a greater chance that they will be charged with a crime.
In addition, children tend to believe that what they do isn't wrong so they don't feel guilty about their actions. They also may not realize the consequences of their actions so they act without thinking about the long-term effects of their behaviors. Children can learn new ways of behaving by watching others around them. As they gain experience, they are more likely to choose safe alternatives to problems rather than acting out aggressively.
Finally, children lack the resources and knowledge needed to survive in the world today. They need help from adults to avoid danger, find food, communicate needs, and find shelter. Without these aids, many children would die after becoming involved in criminal activities.
In 1999, the majority of violent crimes—65 percent—were committed by and against people 25 and older, while persons aged 25 to 34 were the most frequently victims of violent crimes. However, as a proportion of the population, young adults aged 18 to 24 had a greater probability of being arrested or victimized for a violent crime than any other age group.
The likelihood that an adult will be arrested for a crime increases with age. For example, among men aged 20-24, 40% have been arrested at least once; this percentage rises to more than 80% for men aged 60-64. Among women of similar ages, fewer than 10% have been arrested.
Blacks are disproportionately likely to be arrested, charged, and convicted of crimes. According to one study, between 1972 and 2002, blacks accounted for 7 out of 10 new cases filed in federal court but only 5% of those tried or sentenced. Another study found that although black Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population, they account for nearly half (48%) of all people imprisoned for drug offenses.
Whites are also disproportionately likely to be arrested. One study showed that although whites represent 70% of the U.S. population, they account for 85% of all arrests made by police officers.
Because crime rates tend to decrease during youth and early adulthood and increase after age 30, the majority of crimes are committed by individuals who are 25 or older.
Age. Criminal activity is also affected by age: offending rates peak in the late teens and early twenties and then fall. As a result, persons between the ages of 15 and 24 account for almost 40% of all arrests, although constituting just approximately 14% of the population.
Race. Black males experience higher rates of arrest than white or Hispanic males do. The gap between black and white males closes after accounting for differences in age, but it remains high even when these factors are taken into account. Rates of incarceration also vary by region of the country; they are highest in the South and West.
Education. Arrest rates are lower for individuals who have completed some form of education beyond high school. This association appears to be strongest for males aged 25-54; for example, those with at least a bachelor's degree have arrest rates that are about half those of those without any formal education.
Income. Criminals who can afford good attorneys tend to avoid conviction; therefore, they are unlikely to appear on police reports. It has been estimated that this factor alone explains about half of the difference in arrest rates between inmates and civilians. Income also affects how likely you are to be convicted if you do get arrested. Those who can pay for a lawyer have a better chance of having their charges dropped or reduced through plea bargaining.
Location. Crime rates are generally higher in urban areas than in rural ones.