Data shows youth violence trends

CDC defines this as those ages 10-24


Data on recent youth violence committed in Macon-Bibb County show the problem escalating through the teenage years, and plateauing once both victims and alleged perpetrators reach young adulthood, as shown in a pair of interactive charts.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta defines youth violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power to threaten or harm others by young people ages 10-24. It typically involves young people hurting other peers who are unrelated to them and who they may or may not know well.” To get a sense of how pervasive youth violence is in the community, reporters requested data from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office on violent crimes allegedly committed by people ages 10-24.

In order to translate that CDC definition into specific crime categories used by law enforcement, reporters requested data on the four offenses comprising the FBI’s definition of violent crime: “murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.”

Data provided by the sheriff’s office splits robbery into two subcategories: street robbery and commercial robbery. “Aggravated assault,” as opposed to “simple assault,” is an incident of physical violence that rises to the level of a felony offense and usually involves a weapon and/or results in serious injury. “Criminal homicide,” the term used by the Bibb sheriff’s office, would exclude justifiable homicide.

Reporters requested data from 2014—when crime statistics for Bibb County and the former City of Macon merged with consolidation—to the present. However the sheriff’s office moved to a new record’s management system in March 2016 and could not provide data prior to this move. Accordingly, the data reporters charted represents offenses that allegedly occurred between March 8, 2016 and July 25, 2019.

This two-and-a-half year snapshot of crime in Macon-Bibb includes 731 alleged violent crimes in which the suspects identified by the Sheriff’s Office were ages 10-24, and 1,273 alleged crimes in which the victims were ages 10-24.

Such small datasets are subject to random variation, however these data do indicate a clear upward trend in violence as suspects age through the teenage years, peaking and plateauing around the age of 18. However, not all categories of violent crime exhibit the same upward arc across age groups. Both commercial and street robbery exhibit a peak around age 18 followed by a decline among older suspects, while aggravated assaults continue an upward trend into the more advanced ages.

The youngest homicide suspects on record for this period were 16, and the number of incidents allegedly committed by older suspects exhibit no clear trend upward or downward. The youngest homicide victim in this period was 13. Nationally, homicide is the third-leading cause of death among people age 10-24, according to the CDC.