The terrifying plunge in youth crime. By Mike Males | February 2023 Crime, gun killings, and arrest rates by youths have fallen faster in California than in any other state over the last three to five decades, a trend that apparently horrifies authorities and the news media across the political spectrum.
LA’s Diverse Teens Have Abolished the Stereotypical, Brainless “Teenager By Mike Males | October 2022
Today, teens ages 13-19, 8% of the population, comprise just 4% of L.A.’s violent deaths and suicides and 2% of lethal drug and binge-drinking overdoses.
Why Do Gun-Control Lobbies Sabotage Themselves? By Mike Males | October 2022
Schools and urban young people, relentlessly demonized for gun violence, actually represent America’s best hopes
The Grotesque Lies That Keep America’s Phony “Gun Debate” Going By Mike Males | October 2022
America’s children die by guns far more than kids in other Western countries not because of school shootings or loose guns, but because American grownups of mature age are shooting them
Opinion: Gun debate should shift toward adult shooters, who outnumber schoolkids with deadly weaponsBy Mike Males | December 2021
American schools are just about the safest places in gun-plagued American society from shootings – safer than Denmark, in fact. Household adult shooters pose far more danger to kids than do peers at school. Those crucial, easily-provable realities are so horrifying to gun debaters none dare to admit them.
California juvenile reforms should proceed, despite probation officer lobbying efforts By Mike Males | October 2021
Juvenile probation officers are lobbying to save their budgets, claiming thoroughly undeserved credit for the 82% decline in crime by youth.
Opinion: High Court’s Recent Juvenile Lifer Ruling is Barbaric By Mike Males | May 2021
Both sides in the Court’s decision upholding a life sentence for a severely abused teenager were poisoned by primitive prejudices against adolescents that wrecked any semblance of individualized justice.
A Proposal to Transform California’s Juvenile Justice System, Confront Climate Change By Mike Males and Selena Teji | September 16, 2020
California can shift to a 21st-century model of small-scale, low-density facilities oriented toward education, job training and conservation employment.
Opinion: Blaming Young People For COVID-19 Infections, Crime Is Unfair Stereotype By Mike Males | November 2020
Cut out the smug blame game. Young people, like people of color, dominate occupations whose workers are more exposed to infection and are compelled by economic circumstances to return to work – realities that account for recent infections.
Whatever Happened to the Teenage Shoplifter (and Vandal, Arsonist, Burglar, Joyrider)?By Mike Males | July 2020
Vandalism, shoplifting, burglary, joyriding, arson, and petty theft once defined the “dumb kid”. Now, after the under-20 share of property crime arrests plummeted from 43% in 1975 to 8% today – yes, you read that right – the “dumb teenager” seems to have vanished.
Plunging Youth Crime Is Opportunity for California By Mike Males | April 2020
The massive, 82% plummet in youth arrests over the last quarter-century has devastated California’s youth correctional system, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and brought stunning new opportunities for genuine reform.
Who Knows Why California Crime by Youth Is Plummeting? By Mike Males | October 2019
California’s arrests of youths plunged another 17% in 2018 to the lowest levels ever recorded – yet, an arrested youth’s odds of being formally sentenced by a juvenile or adult court and of being incarcerated rose rapidly. Why?
California, NY’s Amazing Low-crime Trends Need to Be Studied By Mike Males | October 2019
Teenagers in the nation’s two largest metropolises, New York City and Los Angeles, once suffered gun killing rates triple the national average. After an 88% drop, teen gun death levels in those cities now are well below the national average. Why do we refuse to learn from this?
As California Youth Crime Plummets, Need for Innovative Re-engagement Strategies Rises By Mike Males | May 2019
The huge decline in crime by youths – no thanks to a legal system that denies youths full adult rights while subjecting youths to worse-than-adult punishments – demands systemic transformation.
Youth Much Less Likely to Shoot or Be Shot Now, No Thanks to Adults By Mike Males | April 2018
In 25 years, teenage shooting deaths fell 81% in El Paso, 83% in Dallas/Fort Worth, 87% in Los Angeles, 89% in San Diego, and 93% in New York City – areas with very different gun laws – and no one cares why.
Are minorities and young people better off after marijuana laws are reformed?By Mike Males | March 2016
A new preliminary report by YouthFacts, using recently released 2014 data, finds arrests for marijuana offenses of all types drop substantially for all ages and races after states reform marijuana laws — but substantial disparities in marijuana arrest rates by race remain the same.
After the Doors Were Locked: A History of Youth Corrections in California and the Origins of Twenty-First Century Reform By Mike Males | November 2015
Weaving together a compelling and incisive story about the nation’s largest youth corrections system, Dan Macallair lays bare the daily reality of institutional life — including 150 years of scandal, public outrage, and failed reforms.
Are Teenage Crime Proneness and Adolescent Risk Taking Obsolete Myths? By Mike Males | February 20, 2014
The two-thirds of 14-19 year-olds who live in areas where youths’ poverty rates top 15% account for a staggering 86% of teens’ arrests. The 19% of teenagers who reside in areas where teen poverty rates average under 10% (the typical middle-aged poverty level) account for just 7% of teens’ arrests. Hmmm.
Lead exposure and poverty: Have we gotten “youth violence” all wrong? By Mike Males | December 2013
We’ve found in repeated studies that teenagers and young adults are no more prone to risk-taking and crime than older adults once the fact 15-24 year-olds are 2-3 times more likely to suffer the economic and environmental harms associated with poverty than middle-agers is taken into account. Now, a researcher finds lead in the blood—which at high levels are associated with many aspects of criminal behavior—by generation track crime rates in a strikingly reliable fashion.
Why Don’t Youth Curfews Work? By Mike Males | October 2013
The best evidence, and basic human rights considerations, shows we need more youth on the streets, not dictatorial banishments.
The Gun Debate, Round 2: Let’s Learn From Young People, Not Demonize Them By Mike Males | May 2013
Long-held beliefs that young age is a causal factor in crime and risky behavior are a prejudice that ignores young people’s high poverty rates, like discredited past efforts to associate violence and race.
Police Department’s vitriol against young people is more reason for federal takeover. By Mike Males | January 2013
The cops brand a 16 year-old murder victim as “at risk” and blame her for being shot by a 36 year-old man simply because she was in public. The police chief trashes the city’s young people en masse as greedy and dangerous even though youth perpetrate only a small fraction of crime. Pervasive, continuing police bigotries underlies the reason for the recent federal takeover of the troubled OPD.
Who’s really murdering our children—and why won’t we talk about it? By Mike Males | December 2012
A large majority of murdered American children under age 10 died not from shootings by deranged gunmen, gangbangers, bullies or lurking internet predators, but in violence at home by their parents. A child or teenager under age 18 is 40 times more likely to be murdered at home than at school by anyone. Realities to think about as political interests in the wake of Sandy Hook make schools sound like dens of mass slaughter.
American gun debate stifled by myth, dogma, and resistance to crucial information. By Mike Males | December 2012
During Barack Obama’s presidency, 3,000 American children and teenagers have been murdered at home in domestic violence, nearly all by parents and caretakers. That’s a Sandy Hook-sized toll every 10 days. Have the president and other leaders faced this difficult reality? Hardly. The Obama White House has largely ignored child abuse and has flatly blamed gun violence on “children.” Without a major change of heart in the White House, the legacy of Sandy Hook will be just another study in scapegoating.
Plunge in black-youth crime threatens politics of scapegoating. By Mike Males | December 2012
The latest, 2011, FBI Crime in America report shows rates of all types of crime by African American youth have fallen to their lowest levels since statistics by race were first reported (in incomplete fashion) in 1964. Yet President Obama, mayors, media commentators, and right-wing lobbies continue to push their agendas by demonizing today’s black youth as the epicenter of violence—a 2012 bigotry as insidious as Jim Crow.
The “Zimmerman Dilemma,” How afraid should we be of young black men? By Mike Males | April 2012
Self-appointed suburban vigilante George Zimmerman pursues and guns down unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin; his later comments showed he feared Martin simply because the teenager was young and African American. How much responsibility does the national commentariat, from President Obama to black leaders to right-wing fear-mongers, bear for misrepresenting today’s young black men as fearsomely violent… exactly the way Zimmerman misperceived Trayvon Martin?
“Stand your ground” does not apply to black teenagers. By Mike Males | April 2012
Typically, after a highly publicized shooting, the National Rifle Association & friends declare that if the “good guy” victim(s) of a “bad guy” gunman had just been armed, they’d still be alive. Strangely, the NRA failed to raise the argument that if African American teenager Trayvon Martin had a Glock 19 pistol instead of Skittles, Martin could have repelled his attacker. In fact, the entire discussion has been whether vigilante George Zimmerman had the right under Florida law to “stand his ground” against Martin after he’d pursued and picked a fight with Martin—not about Martin’s rights under that same law.
Banning youths from streets may make us less safe By Mike Males | August 2011
Why curfews fail. Bloomberg News published our op-ed on why cities’ responses to newly manufactured panics over “flash mobs” and ongoing fears of “youth on the streets” resurrected a self-defeating curfew stampede that wastes police time removing law-abiding youth from the streets.
Not “youth violence” again… By Mike Males | April 2011
President Obama launches his 2012 reelection campaign with a triple attack against young people, a legacy of former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s cowardly Clinton-era politics of generational fearmongering. The White House’s calculated efforts to win “values” voters’ support by cynically trashing America’s young as bullies, rapists, and violent criminals—and its conspicuous silence on genuine but impolitic issues like youth poverty and child abuse—demonstrate the growing dishonesty of an administration that promised change and hope to win young people’s enthusiasm, then delivered the same old bigoted anti-youth clichés and exploitation.
California: Record-high youth numbers, record-high diversity, record-low youth crime: By Mike Males | July 2010
Today’s panic and hostility toward American youth is so intense that California’s stunningly hopeful developments—record lows in crime by youths as its diverse, under-18 population (68% are now nonwhite) soars to record highs—is resolutely ignored by authorities and media. Just-released 2009 state statistics shows both serious and minor youth crime rates are at their lowest levels since records were first compiled in 1954. Crime “experts” said more, and more diverse, youth bring more crime… and, as is very often the case, the experts are wrong again.
In the last decade, the FBI reports more than 6,000 American children and teenagers under age 18 were murdered by adults—a large majority by guns. By the gun-rights logic of the US Supreme Court, legislators, and lobbies that gun ownership for self protection is a “basic right,” laws banning guns for those under age 18 represent a threat to young people’s right to defend themselves from gun-wielding grownups and should be repealed or struck down. Let our kids shoot back!
Is there an “epidemic” of teens terrorizing the homeless? By Mike Males |September 2008
The news media and homeless organizations are once again whipping up the myth from a small number of isolated cases that rising hordes of “vile” and “vicious” teenagers are wantonly beating and killing homeless people. In fact, there’s no “epidemic” (any more than news stories of homeless people attacking teens prove some vicious, new homeless fad). The efforts by advocates of one group subjected to unwarranted prejudice and fear (the homeless) to vilify another one (young people) is sad and disturbing.
Youth crime, 2006—get ready for distortions By Mike Males | July 2007
Yes, it’s feeding time again! The FBI’s just-released 2006 crime figures are already being pounced on by police, reporters, and their always-wrong “experts” like James Alan Fox to grab bucks and ratings. Here’s a guide to the anti-youth distortions you’ll be seeing and the truth about the latest changes in youth crime—good and bad. Also, the girl-crime apocalypse continues to be a myth, as girls’ crime, especially murder, falls sharply.
By Mike Males | April 2007
Quick quiz: what age group shows the biggest rise in violence, serious crime, and drug offenses? It’s not youth or young adults…the massive crime epidemic the news media, the cops, interest groups, and “experts” endlessly scapegoating youth refuse to face.
Are schools “full of angry kids” waiting to commit mass shootings? In fact, in a nation that leads all other Western nations in gun murders by far, our high school and college campuses are safer than Denmark…
By Mike Males | June 2007
NO. They’re committing FEWER than previous generations. In 1965, the FBI estimated youths under age 18 accounted for 30% of all serious violent and property crime in the country. In 2005, that figure was 17%, the lowest level ever recorded…
Deadly Lessons. By Mike Males
CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s keeping-it-dishonest escapism on Chicago youth killings.