Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, or youth crime, is participation in illegal behavior by minors (juveniles) (individuals younger than the statutory age of majority). Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers, and courts. A juvenile delinquent is a person who is typically under the age of 16 and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged as a crime if they were an adult. Depending on the type and severity of the offense committed, it is possible for persons under 16 to be charged and tried as adults.
In recent years, the average age for first arrest has dropped significantly, and younger boys and girls are committing crimes. Between 60–80% percent of adolescents, and pre-adolescents engage in some form of juvenile offense. These can range from status offenses (such as underage smoking), to property crimes and violent crimes. The percent of teens who offend is so high that it would seem to be a cause for worry. However, juvenile offending can be considered normative adolescent behavior. This is because most teens tend to offend by committing non-violent crimes, only once or a few times, and only during adolescence. It is when adolescents offend repeatedly or violently that their offending is likely to continue beyond adolescence, and become increasingly violent. It is also likely that if this is the case, they began offending and displaying antisocial behavior even before reaching adolescence.