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Anticipating the Future Based on Analysis of the Past: Intercity Variation in Youth Homicide, 1984-2006

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2010
74 pages
In extending current research on homicide trends within cities or groupings of cities, this study addressed previously neglected issues by estimating the temporal trend in youth homicide offending from 1984-2006 and then modeling city-specific explanatory predictors influencing this trend.
Findings showed that homicide, robbery, and aggravated assault trends for both juveniles and young adults followed the same general trend between 1984 and 2006. There was an escalation in lethal and nonlethal violence arrest rates in the early years, followed by a significant downturn after the early 1990s, and then a subsequent and significant upturn in the more recent years of the time period. Although some factors were consistently associated with youth violence across offense type, time period, and analytic techniques, others were significant in only certain situations. Specifically, structural disadvantage was consistently associated with variation in homicide and robbery among juvenile and young adult perpetrators during both the initial escalation of violence in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, as well as in more recent years. In addition, gang presence, gang activity, and drug market activity were consistently associated with the escalation in homicide offending among both juveniles and young adults during both early and later years. This study extends previous work on youth violence by modeling city-specific explanatory predictors that influence annual change in youth homicide offending within cities during the youth homicide epidemic in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, applying the specified model to emerging trends in youth homicide perpetration for 2000-2006, assessing whether the model applies equally well for juveniles 13-17 and young adults ages 18-24, as well as analyzing whether the scope of the model can be extended to perpetration of nonlethal youth violence, particularly robbery and aggravated assault. 12 tables and 130 references

Date Published: December 1, 2010