Skip to main content

Minnesota arrests of juveniles drop sharply from 1998 peak

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Arrests of juveniles in Minnesota steadily increased through the 1980s and 1990s, to a peak of nearly 80,000 in 1998, and then dropped dramatically in the last decade, to just 36,000 arrests in 2011.

That's according to a new report from the Office of Justice Programs in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The 55 percent drop is attributable in part to a shift in philosophies about how to handle teen offenders, with more emphasis on diversion programs and detention alternatives that prevent youths from going deeper in the system, said report author Dana Swayze, juvenile justice analyst with the state agency.

“There’s more focus on prevention,” Swayze tells the Star Tribune. “It’s helping offenders repair the harm that they’ve done, re-integrate them into the community and addressing the underlying factors that brought them into the juvenile system."

In a press release, Raeone Magnuson, OJP director, says, "This is obviously a trend that we hope continues on a downward course for years to come; however, the data also highlights areas that remain a concern, such as racial disparity in the juvenile justice system."

Federal data indicates that minority teens in Minnesota are much more likely to be arrested that white youths, WCCO reports. In 2011, African-American youths were nearly 6 times more likely to be arrested than white teens, WCCO says.

The drop in juvenile arrests mirrors a national trend, according to a new Pew Charitable Trusts report.

Here's more data from the release that helps illustrate the rise and fall of juvenile arrests in Minnesota (rates are per 1,000 youths ages 10-17 from 1980-2011):

Overall Arrests

1982—59.8 arrests (30-year low)
1998—133.9 arrests (30-year high)
2011—63.6 arrests

Violent Crime Arrests
Violent crimes are classified as serious, person-related offenses—murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault and robbery.

1980, 1983—1.3 arrests (30-year low)
1994—4.0 arrests (30-year high)
2011—1.7 arrests

Property Crime Arrests
Property crime consists of four offenses—larceny, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson.

1980—26.9 arrests
1992—33.7 arrests (30-year high)
2011—14.1 arrests (30-year low)

Status Offense Arrests
Status offenses include acts that are unlawful due to the offender’s legal status as a minor—curfew, loitering and runaway offenses.

1981—4.6 arrests (30-year low)
2000—22.9 arrests (30-year high)
2011—8.0 arrests

Next Up

Target store

Target gives first look at some of its Deal Days discounts

The Minneapolis retailer is holding its Deal Days event earlier than ever, in an attempt to drive sales after a turbulent year.

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 11.03.12 AM

Man dies after crashing truck into western Wisconsin lake

The victim was unable to make it to shore despite being able to get out of his truck.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Sheriff: Man who didn't return to campsite died in ATV crash

It happened at the Foothills State Forest and Spider Lake ATV Recreation Area

Richard Liu, aka Liu Qiangdong

Chinese billionaire settles lawsuit over alleged rape in Minneapolis

The tech billionaire was accused of sexually assaulting a University of Minnesota student in 2018.

US Navy Flickr - COVID hospital PPE nurse

Frontline worker payments: Over a million Minnesotans to get $487.45

Gov. Tim Walz says the payments will start going out on Wednesday.


Ed Sheeran to bring North America stadium tour to Minneapolis

It's the second show announced for the Vikings stadium in 2023.

Kim Crockett

GOP candidate Kim Crockett won't commit to accepting election result

Crockett has been a proponent of conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 presidential election.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.41.39 AM

Charges: Man carjacked father, daughter as they loaded groceries outside Cub

The father grappled with the suspect after he had pointed a gun at his daughter.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 8.25.27 PM

Pilot, brother and sister killed when plane crashed into house are ID'd

The plane crashed into a house in Hermantown, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 7.18.52 PM

Rolled semi, livestock on freeway interchange in Woodbury

Traffic cameras showed what appeared to be hogs on the side of the road.

Eric Reinbold

Reinbold guilty of murdering wife with 'particular cruelty'

Eric Reinbold, 46, was convicted of two counts of murder in the second degree in Pennington County Friday.

police tape

Armed assault suspect arrested after standoff in Waite Park

The standoff ended early Saturday when officer obtained a warrant for the home.


LRT trail in Hopkins.

Juvenile suspect arrested in assault on woman on Hopkins trail

Police say the suspect followed the woman onto the trail and assaulted her.

Juvenile arrested in Craigslist scam

The Golden Valley police have arrested a suspect in a string of fake online ticket sales. Victims purchased items through the online classifieds site and were emailed fraudulent, printable ticket stubs.