NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Surgeon General's Warning On Youth Violence

January 18, 2001

The rate of acts of violence committed by young people has dropped from its 1993 peak. But a report by U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher released yesterday warns against letting "down our guard" on this issue.

  • Arrests for violent crime surged between 1983 and 1993 -- "driven largely by rapid proliferation of firearms use by adolescents."
  • But by 1999, arrest rates for homicide, rape and robbery had fallen below 1983 rates.
  • However, in confidential surveys, 30 percent to 40 percent of boys and 15 percent to 30 percent of girls admit to committing a serious violent offense -- defined as one causing bodily harm -- by age 17.

Many violence prevention programs have proven effective and should be used more widely, says the report, which names 27 of those programs.

Source: Marilyn Elias, "Youth Violence Study Signals Uneasy Future," USA Today, January 18, 2001; "Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General," January 2001.


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