Arrests of children ages 10-17 in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

Getting arrested is a negative event for any youth. Youth who continue to have involvement with the juvenile justice system are more likely to have a criminal offense as an adult. Adults with criminal records face many barriers in finding and keeping employment. For youth who are arrested for using drugs or alcohol, the arrest may be the impetus for the youth to enter treatment for substance use disorders.

What the data shows
Both in Maine and nationally, the rate of arrests per 1,000 youth has been declining. But 2020 was an extraordinary year as far as juvenile arrests with a 32% decline in juvenile arrests, from 2,489 in 2019 to just 1,689 arrests in 2020. In Maine the rate in 2019 is less than half what it was in 2012 and a quarter of what the rate was in 1999. The 2019 Maine rate of 21.2 per 1,000 compares favorably with other states. 

Of the 50 states, in 2019, Maine had one of the lowest rates of juvenile arrests for aggravated assault, and is in the top 5 lowest for robbery and weapons. To compare states, see: Crime Rates By State

In terms of variation by county, in 2020, Androscoggin's rate per 1,000 youth ages 10-17 of 24.1 was much higher than the second highest Aroostook at 17.1.  The previous year, in 2019, Androscoggin's rate was 25.8 and Aroostook's was 28.6. Washington County had no arrests of juveniles in 2020. The counties with the next lowest juvenile arrest rates were Waldo and Knox Counties, with rates of 4.3 and 5.3 respectively per 1,000 youth ages 10 -17.


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Definitions: The rate of children under age 18 arrested during a calendar year.  The rate is per 1,000 children ages 10-17.  The numerator is the number of arrests for any reason of someone under age 18. It includes repeat offenses for the same individual. The denominator is the population per county ages 10 -17 based on yearly estimates from the Maine Office of Vital Statistics. Arrests include all arrests of anyone under age 18 except minor traffic violations. It includes crimes against persons, against property and other crimes such as those involving drugs and alcohol.

Data Source: Maine Department of Public Safety, Crime in Maine Reports

Footnotes: This data does not include crimes for which there have been no arrests made.
Ages 10 -17 was used as the denominator because there are very few arrests of children younger than 10. In 2020, there were 3 arrests of children younger than 10 and these are included in the numerator
The arrest is counted where it occurs. In some counties, such as York, this number of children arrested may include youth who reside in other states but were arrested in Maine. In other cases, youth may be arrested by a state entity such as the Maine State Police and not be included in the county totals but are included in the state totals.

Data last uploaded: March 2022