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December 25, 1943


JAMA. 1943;123(17):1118. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840520034010

The term "juvenile delinquency" is applied somewhat loosely to cover both indictable offenses and serious deviations from the moral code by boys and girls under the age of legal maturity. The broadness of this definition is evidence of the unscientific approach to this problem that frequently characterizes public discussion.

Juvenile delinquency, constantly present in modern society, is greatly exacerbated under the influence of wartime conditions. In New York City there was a downward trend from 1930 to 1940; since that time, even before our active entry into the war, a steady and disturbing rise in frequency has occurred.1 A parallel development has appeared throughout the country. During the first twelve months of the war, for example, the number of indictable offenses increased 41 per cent in children under 14, 22 per cent in the 14 to 17 age group, 5 per cent in the 17 to 21 age group;