Data Reveals Violence Among Youth Under 18 Has Not Spiked in the Pandemic

Jun 14, 2022 | by
  • Description

Throughout the pandemic, a flurry of alarming news coverage and inflammatory rhetoric from politicians have appeared in national and local media highlighting serious violent crimes by youth. The issue has generated considerable political attention in Congress and across the country, and it has fueled calls to scale back youth justice reforms enacted in many states and to derail proposed reforms in others.

This report explains why these calls for a return to get-tough youth justice policies are misguided, based on a false narrative regarding recent trends in youth crime and what actually works to prevent delinquency and promote youth success.

Our nation must always take vigilant action steps to increase public safety, starting with common sense gun regulations to limit access to deadly weapons. But the nation must be clear-eyed about the nature and dimensions of youth violence and cannot allow media-fueled concerns over crime or election-year political posturing to distract attention from efforts to mobilize urgently needed social, emotional, and mental health support for young people in their schools and communities.

The Sentencing Project's review of the available data about youth violence during the pandemic finds scarce evidence of a youth-led crime wave. Rather, most of the data suggest that youth violence has been flat or declining.