Most juvenile arrests, in both Alaska and the country as a whole, are made for property crimes rather than crimes against persons. Moreover, despite the common belief to the contrary, there has been no significant upward trend in juvenile arrests in Alaska. Between 1987 and 1996 the rate of arrests of Alaska juveniles actually declined. Substantially fewer juvenile arrests—5791—were made in 1996 than in 1987—7657 (Tables 1 and 2; Figure 1).
The FBI assesses trends in the volume of crime by monitoring selected offenses: the Crime Index. The Index includes the violent crimes of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. During the ten-year period, 1987-1996, the rate of juvenile arrests for Crime Index crimes declined overall in Alaska as did the state juvenile arrest rate for total crimes.
However, the rate of juvenile arrests for violent crimes rose overall during the ten years, with a very sharp increase between 1992 and 1993. Since 1994, the juvenile violent crime arrest rate has declined somewhat but, in 1996 at 135.5 arrests per 100,000 population under 18, it was still over double what it was in 1986—67.4.
Nevertheless, in 1996, the 259 juvenile arrests for violent crimes constituted only 17 per cent of all arrests for violent crimes in Alaska. Nationwide, juvenile arrests accounted for 18.7 per cent of violent crime arrests.
Between 1987 and 1996, the Alaska juvenile arrest rate for Index property crimes declined overall. The 1986 rate of 1746.3 arrests per 100,000 was the highest rate reached. The lowest property crime arrest rate was 725.5 arrests per 100,000 in 1990. In 1996 this rate was 1211.4. In that year, juvenile arrests for Index property crimes accounted for 43.6 per cent of arrests in this category in Alaska. In the nation as a whole, juvenile arrests constituted 35.2 per cent of total property crime arrests.