Changes in Arrests from 1990 to 2010

. November 20, 2012

Using data the FBI collects from police departments nationwide, a new report analyzes arrest trends for different types of crimes.  The report finds that between 1990 and 2010 the:

  1. number of murder arrests fell by half and both adult and juvenile arrest rates (the number of arrests per 100,000 people) fell to their lowest levels since at least 1990,
  2. forcible rape arrest rate fell 59%,
  3. aggravated assault arrest rate fell 31%, and
  4. simple assault arrest rate remained largely unchanged even though the female arrest rate rose 75% and the male arrest rate fell 12%.
The report also found that police made one arrest for drug sale or manufacture for every four arrests for possession or use in 2010.  The possession or use arrest rate "increased substantially" during the period while the 2010 sale or manufacture arrest rate was at its lowest level during the period and 30% below the 1990 level.

The report notes a number of limitations to the FBI's data.  In addition, the number of arrests is not the same as the number of crimes committed and arrest trends cannot be assumed to match crime trends.

Read the full report, "Arrest in the United States, 1990-2010."