Reasons for Juvenile Crime
One of the biggest problems which the United States is faced
with is juvenile crime. The reason experts feel juvenile's commit
crimes is because of risk factors when they were younger but experts
still have not found the main reason why juvenile's commit crimes.
Some risk factors associated with juvenile crime are poverty, repeated
exposure to violence, drugs, easy access to firearms, unstable family
life and family violence, delinquent peer groups, and media violence.
Especially the demise of family life, the effect of the media on the
juveniles today, and the increase of firearms available today have
played a big role in the increase of juveniles crimes.
The most common risk factor is the demise of the family life
and the increase in family violence. Between 1976 and 1992 the number
of juveniles living in poverty grew 42% and this caused an increase in
crimes by juveniles. Many of these juvenile criminals have been abused
or neglected and they also grew up in a single-parent household.
Research has found that 53% of these children are more likely to be
arrested, and 38% more likely to commit a violent crime as an adult,
then their counterparts who did not suffer such abuse. The symptoms of
child abuse are "high levels of aggression and antisocial behavior"
and these children are twice as likely to become juvenile offenders.
Also improper parental care has been linked to delinquency such as
mothers who drink alcohol or take drugs during pregnancy cause their
babies to grow up with learning disorders, a problem which leads them
to be juvenile criminals.
Another risk factor is the effect of the media on the
juveniles of today. Before the time a child has reached seventh grade,
the average child has witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of
violence on the television. There is no doubt that heavy exposure to
televised violence is one of the causes of aggressive behavior, crime
and violence in society. Television violence affects youngsters of all
ages, of both genders, at all economic levels, and all levels of
intelligence. Long-term childhood exposure to television is a casual
factor behind one half of the homicides committed by juveniles
in the United States.
The increased availability of guns has played a big part in
escalating the number of crimes committed by juveniles. In Los Angeles
juvenile delinquency cases involving weapon violation grew by 86% from
1988 to 1992, which was more then any other type of juvenile offense.
According to a University of Michigan study found that 270,000 guns
accompany secondary school students to class daily. This is startling
because it shows how many more juveniles are carrying guns and the
juvenile use of guns in homicides has increased from 65 to 80 percent
from 1987 to 1991.
The possession of firearms plays a big cause in the
delinquency of children and is playing a bigger role in the crimes
which juveniles commit. Another cause of the increase of juvenile
crimes has been the effect of children seeing multiple murders and
other acts of violence on the television. Finally the demise of the
family life and the increase in family violence has been the biggest
factor in the increase of juvenile crime.