Patterns of adolescent gun carrying and gun-related crime arrests in Indianapolis, Indiana over an 11-year time period

Prev Med. 2020 Oct;139:106199. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106199. Epub 2020 Jul 9.


Adolescent males are disproportionately affected by homicide as both victims and offenders. Indianapolis has seen increases in youth homicides over the past few years; gun carrying increases an individual's risk for involvement in firearm violence. It is unclear how often youth are arrested for gun carrying and gun-related crimes. Examining these patterns may identify an opportunity for intervention. This study is a descriptive epidemiology analysis that examines patterns of gun carrying and gun-related crime arrests among justice involved youth in Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana. We accessed juvenile court records from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2016 on all individuals arrested for a gun carrying offense (i.e., illegal possession of a firearm or gun; n = 711) and all individuals arrested for a gun-related crime (i.e., homicide, robbery, aggravated assault; n = 150). Data were analyzed in fall 2019. Proportions of juvenile arrests for both gun carrying (47.0 per 1000 arrests) and gun-related crime (25.4 per 1000 arrests) have substantially increased compared to ten-years ago (4.5 per 1000 arrests and 2.0 per 1000 arrests, respectively). Of those arrested, 27.7 per 100,000 population were arrested for a repeated gun-related offense; of which 21.5 per 100,000 were first arrested for gun carrying and 6.2 per 100,000 were arrested for a gun-related crime. The majority of gun-related repeat offenders were first arrested for gun carrying; therefore, these gun-carrying arrests may be an opportunity to intervene on an individual level by providing treatment, other needed resources, and discussing safe firearm storage with families and communities.

Keywords: Adolescents; Firearm violence; Guns; Violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Crime
  • Criminals*
  • Firearms*
  • Homicide
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Male
  • Violence