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Justice by the numbers
A statistical profile of criminal justice in the United States, vintage 1996.

2.9: The percentage decline in the violent-crime arrest rate of youths ages 10 to 17 in 1995, which reversed a nine-year upward trend, according to the Justice Department, which added that the juvenile arrest rate for murder plunged 15.2 percent in the same year.

6: The percentage of adult arrestees who tested positive for methamphetamine use, according to data from the Justice Department’s Drug Use Forecasting program. The findings in DUF, which culls its data from quarterly drug tests and voluntary interviews with 4,000 adult and juvenile arrestees in custody in 23 U.S. cities, suggests that widespread use of the stimulant that been popular in the West for years is spreading eastward.

8 cents: The portion of each tax dollar that Oklahoma spends for its criminal justice system, compared to the national average of 13 cents. The finding prompted the state’s criminal justice entities to form the Law Enforcement Alliance, which will lobby the Legislature to bring criminal justice spending up to the national  par.

9: The percentage decrease in the number of violent crimes reported by victims to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

10.4: The percentage of youths ages 12- to 17-year-olds, or about 22.2 million, who used drugs on a monthly basis in 1995, up from 5.3 percent in 1992, according to a survey by the Department of Health and Human Services.

12: The percentage decline in the number of law enforcement wiretaps authorized by state courts in 1995, according to a report released in May by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. In contrast, the number of Federally authorized wiretaps rose by at least 21 percent.

12: The percentage of the nation’s county and municipal law enforcement agencies that required recruits to have some college education, as of 1993. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said the figure is up from just 6 percent in 1990.

16: The number of police officers who were killed by assault weapons between Jan. 1, 1994, and Sept. 30, 1995, according to Handgun Control Inc. The gun-control advocacy group said that assault weapons accounted for 17.4 percent of the 92 police shootings in which a gun was recovered and identified.

20: The percentage of violent crimes, including murder, in which victims were under the age of 18, according to a survey of prison inmates conducted by the Justice Department. More than half of the victims were 12 or under, the report said.

30: The percentage of 2,738 Florida youths tried as adults who were rearrested within a year of their release, compared to a rearrest rate of 19 percent for youths whose cases were adjudicated in the juvenile justice system, according to a study by the University of Florida.

31: The number of foreign countries on the State Department’s list of major drug-producing or trans-shipment nations. Belize and Cambodia were added to the list this year.

39: The number of arrests in which Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents fired their weapons from 1990 to 1995, according to the General Accounting Office. Of the 76,542 investigations and 46,930 arrests made by the bureau in that period, only 25 resulted in allegations that agents of the oft-maligned Federal agency used excessive force.

43: The number of gigabytes of criminal justice data that can be accessed from the Bureau of Justice Statistics home page on the Internet. The address for the home page, which was launched in February, is: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/.

43: The percentage of inmates imprisoned under California’s “three strikes and you’re out” law who are black, according to a study by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Blacks make up just 7 percent of the state’s population.

43: The percentage of blacks surveyed by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies who said police brutality and harassment were serious problems where they live. Only 13 percent of the general population responded similarly.

50: The percentage increase in the number of juveniles arrested for violent crimes between 1988 to 1994, according to “Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1996 Update on Violence,” a report released by the Justice Department in March. The report added that the number of juvenile murderers tripled during the same period, and that juveniles accounted for 19 percent of all violent crime arrests in 1994.

52.5: The percentage increase in the number of bombing incidents from 1990 to 1994, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which added that property damage from the blasts totaled nearly $600 million in 1994 alone  35 times higher than four years earlier.

58: The percentage of police chiefs who regarded drug abuse as a “serious” problem in their communities  more so than domestic violence, violent or property crimes, according to a poll by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Sixty percent of the more than 300 chiefs who were surveyed said law enforcement’s efforts to reduce the drug problem have been unsuccessful, and nearly half said a “fundamental overhaul” of the anti-drug effort is needed.

84: The percentage of people surveyed by the National Association of Police Organizations who believe their local law enforcement officers are doing a good job. The survey also found that 58 percent of those polled believe crime in their state is worsening.

92: The number of minutes between each incident of a child being killed by gunfire in the United States, according a report by the Children’s Defense Fund. Gunfire was said to be the second-leading cause of death among children ages 10 to 19.

129: The total number of FBI agents that would be assigned to foreign posts under a plan to expand the bureau’s overseas presence over the next four years. Director Louis Freeh said the agents were needed to combat international terrorism, organized crime and drug-trafficking.

603: The number of arrest incidents in which New York City police officers used pepper spray in 1995, a rate that tripled from the previous year. The aerosol deterrent is now used by the NYPD more often than nightsticks to subdue unruly suspects.

2,439: The number of deaths related to methamphetamine use from 1991 to 1995, according to testimony by Harold Wankel, chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, before a House subcommittee.

4,000: The estimated number of active, hard-core members of Russian organized crime operating in the United States. In testimony before Congress on Jan. 31, Jim Moody, a deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division, warned that Russian gangsters will be the major organized-crime force if they are allowed to operate unchecked.

$10,000: The amount survivors of slain Maryland law enforcement officers are eligible to receive to cover out-of-pocket funeral expenses under a measure approved by the state Legislature in April.

11,042: The number of street gangs in Los Angeles County, according to Sheriff Sherman Block, who said gangs were responsible for 800 murders last year.

12,692: The number of security personnel pressed into the service by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Said to be the largest such force ever assembled, the officers were supplemented by thousands of volunteer, military and police officers.

31,500: The record-setting number of criminal aliens deported from the United States during 1995, according to Attorney General Janet Reno. Reno gave the estimate in January, when she announced that the Justice Department will provide states with $87 million to pay for the cost of keeping an estimated 37,000 criminal aliens in state prisons.

60,000+: The number of felons, fugitives and others that have been prevented from buying handguns in the two years since the Brady Act went into effect, according to statistics announced by  Attorney General Janet Reno in February.

100,000: The estimated decrease in the number of arrests made by Los Angeles police officers in the past five years  a decline that some LAPD officials believe stems from lingering fallout from the Rodney King beating case, which they say has made officers less aggressive.

137,800: The number of violent crimes that went unpunished because suspects were not informed of their Miranda rights, according to a study by University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell on the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling. Cassell estimated that in 1994, nearly 2,000 homicides and over 7,000 rapes would have been solved if not for the Miranda requirements.

$240,000: The amount of a donation by Sheriff Nat Glover of Jacksonville/Duval County, Fla., to provide low-income children with four-year college scholarships. The money donated by Glover, which came from his police pension, fulfilled a campaign promise he had made to give poor students a shot at “the pursuit of excellence.” The funds will provide higher education for 30 students, 10 of whom will be named each year as “Nat Glover Scholars.”

652,000: The number of gang members in 25,000 gangs, according to the National Youth Gang Survey. Problems linked to gangs are worsening in 48 percent of the communities polled, and are improving in only 10 percent.

1.6 million: The number of men and women in the nation’s jails and prisons in 1995, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Since 1985, the total number of inmates in state and Federal prisons jumped 113 percent.

$4 million: The estimated street value of drugs found by New York City police who searched a car after seeing four men acting suspiciously near the vehicle and then fleeing from the area. A Federal judge in January threw out the drug evidence in the case against the car’s owner, ruling that it was unconstitutional for the officers to search the car just because the four men ran from the scene. Judge Harold Baer, who reasoned that the men had good reason to flee because the neighborhood had a history of police corruption and brutality against minority residents, later reconsidered the ruling following a public outcry.

$5.9 million: The amount in damages and fees that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agreed to pay to settle a discrimination case brought by black agents.

$12.1 million: The amount of money that will be made available over five years in a grant from the National Science Foundation to Carnegie Mellon University’s H.J. Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. The award, which will be used to create the National Consortium on Violence Research, is said to be the largest single social project ever funded by the NSF.

13.9 million: The number of Crime Index offenses reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies nationwide during 1995, according to the bureau’s annual report, “Crime in the United States.” The number of crimes was down 1 percent from 1994, with violent crimes declining by 3 percent.

$68 million: The amount budgeted during the 1996 fiscal year to fund tribal law enforcement agencies and those administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs  a sum that police officials in Indian Country criticized as too paltry to effectively deal with burgeoning crime problems.

$549.9 million: The value of assets collected from criminals by the Justice Department during fiscal year 1994, according to a DoJ report to Congress. About $234.6 million was disbursed to state and local law enforcement agencies.

$604 million: The amount of Federal grants made available for hiring nearly 9,000 police officers nationwide under the Community Oriented Policing Services program.

$1 billion: The estimated cost to renovate  and, in some cases, raze and rebuild  dilapidated police facilities in Los Angeles. A consultants’ report recommended demolishing the LAPD’s landmark Parker Center headquarters and replacing it with a new $135-million facility.

$450 billion: The annual cost of crime in the United States, according to “Victim Costs and Circumstances: A New Look,” a survey done for the Justice Department that was said to be the first to try to measure the cost of child abuse and domestic violence along with crimes like murder, robbery and rape.

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Published in Law Enforcement News
Dec. 31, 1996.
© 1996, LEN Inc.  [ Subscribe.]