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Co-Offending Among Adolescents in Violent Victimizations, 2004-13

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2016                          Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
WWW.BJS.GOV After hours: (202) 598-9320
Print release | Full report  


WASHINGTON – For the 10-year period 2004–13, adolescents who acted alone committed 32 nonfatal violent victimizations per 1,000 adolescents. In comparison, adolescents who acted with at least one co-offender committed 18 nonfatal violent victimizations per 1,000 adolescents.

The findings are based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which collects information from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households in which victims self-report their experiences with criminal victimization. Nonfatal violent victimizations include rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault.

During 2004–13, adolescents made up 10 percent of the U.S. population age 12 or older but were offenders in 22 percent of all nonfatal violent victimizations. Adolescents who acted alone accounted for 14 percent of nonfatal violent victimizations. Those who co-offended with other adolescents accounted for 5 percent and those who acted with young adults accounted for 2 percent.

Simple assaults made up the majority of nonfatal violent victimizations when adolescents acted alone (77 percent) or with other adolescents (71 percent). In contrast, when adolescents acted with young adults, half (53 percent) of nonfatal violent victimizations were simple assaults.

A weapon (including a firearm, knife or other type of weapon) was used in a greater percentage of serious nonfatal violent victimizations (rape or sexual assault, robbery or aggravated assault) committed by adolescents who acted with young adults (70 percent) than adolescents who acted alone (61 percent) or who acted with other adolescents (50 percent).

Other findings include—

  • In at least two-thirds (66 to 69 percent) of the serious nonfatal violent victimizations committed by adolescents, the victims were also adolescents.
  • A greater percentage of serious violent victimizations committed by adolescents who acted alone (48 percent) or with other adolescents (42 percent) were perpetrated against well-known or casual acquaintances than those committed by adolescents with young adults (21 percent).

The report, Co-Offending Among Adolescents in Violent Victimizations, 2004–13 (NCJ 249756), was written by BJS statisticians Barbara A. Oudekerk and Rachel E. Morgan. The report, related documents and additional information about BJS's statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at https://www.bjs.gov/.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Date Published: July 7, 2016