Youth crime has become a major issue of concern worldwide because most youths have been indulging in crimes at very high rates. This has raised the need to take some steps in an effort to either minimize or avoid the involvement of youths in criminal activities. Youth crime also referred to as juvenile delinquency entails some abnormality in the youths’ behaviour in regard to societal or even legal expectations.
There are many factors that are considered to facilitate indulgence in crime by the youths for instance poor up bringing, poverty and unemployment, lack of education and peer pressure among others. This research paper will look into the various aspects that are associated with youth crime for example the causes, the delinquent behaviours involved, and the preventive measures undertaken to handle the delinquencies.
Causes of Youth Crime
There is no distinct factor that can be pin pointed as the root cause of youth crime. This is because youths engage in criminal activities as a result of the different situations that they face in life. The situations could be as a result of either social, economic, cultural or even family problems. Different economic, social and cultural conditions in different countries causes the difference in the causes although some common causes can be drawn since all hail from family relationships, the social environment and the economic situation surrounding the youths. The relationships that exist in the families of the youths could facilitate the indulgence in criminal activities for example when the parents are involved in crime, when there is poor parental guidance and supervision, in case of neglect and isolation or harsh treatment by parents hence the development of defiant behaviour, where there exist family conflicts and the youths feel overburdened, ineffective or lack of communication between the parents and the children hence lack of forum for discussing the problems that the youths could be having, disrespect and irresponsible behaviour among family members that may make the youths take it as a normality, family break-ups and violence among others. An economic condition on the other hand entails aspects like the political situations surrounding the youths, poverty and unemployment among other aspects (Western, Lynch and Oquilvie 45).
The political situation in a nation may also lead to indulgence in crime by the youths for example in instances where there is political instability, the youths may tend to look for means through which to secure a better future hence engaging in criminal activities in search of a livelihood. Lack of employment opportunities for the youths is also a major contributing factor towards delinquency. Some of the youths have got education but lack employment chances making them hopeless and susceptible to anything that may come their way, crime being one of them as they try to survive and establish a source of living. Poverty and inequality also contributes to criminal activities. This is because no one is ready to accept living in poor conditions especially where others have better living conditions. As the youths tend to move away from the poverty situations they find themselves engaging in criminal ventures in an effort to make life favourable and comfortable. The social conditions that may facilitate the indulgence in criminal activities by the youths include inequalities in terms of services provision and power sharing, poor or lack of leadership in the societies hence loss of focus among the youths, discrimination among the youths, peer pressure and influence of the media for instance where the media portrays violence and crime to be prestigious making the youths to emulate people involved in crime among others. It is therefore evident that to prevent crime, the above named causes should be dealt with from the roots (McCord et al 25).
Consequences of Youth Crime
There are numerous consequences that are associated with youth crime. The crimes affect not only those undertaking it but also the society at large. This is because of the uncertainty linked with the criminal activities which leads to tension and anxiety among the society members as they don’t know what may happen to them. The crime may also be dangerous to the youths themselves for instance the abuse of drugs and other substances may lead to deterioration of their health, they may also be physically injured in the event of perpetrating the criminal activities and more so, they may get themselves behind bars facing legal sentences once they are convicted for the crimes committed hence suffering from lack of freedom and harsh treatment (Elliot, Huizinga, and Menard 29).
Preventive Measures to Be Taken In Regard to Youth Crime
Since the problem of youth crime is real and in existence, there is need to establish some measures aimed at reducing or avoiding the chances of engaging in crimes by the youths.
A good approach is however the identification of the root causes of the crimes and dealing with them appropriately. The measures include reduction of inequality and poverty levels among communities. This could be achieved through aspects like effective taxation that ensures that the well-up people are able to support the less fortunate through the taxes hence reducing the inequality. Poverty can also be reduced through provision of employment opportunities and increasing the minimum earnings. This will in the long run reduce the chances of the youths’ indulgence in crime as they will be involved in more productive activities in the economy.
Reduction of the availability of drugs and other substances is also a recommended step as it reduces the number of youths who can access them hence avoiding their abuse (Blyth and Solomon 2). Another effective method that could be applied is the youth awareness programmes for instance on the importance of education and general positive living. Education should also be made affordable to the majority including the poor as education enhances an individual’s well being in terms of decision making and making choices as well as increasing the possibilities of securing job opportunities hence have a stable source of earning. There should also be efforts to reinforce the law enforcement strategies with an aim of reducing chances of crime as the youths caught committing crimes are sentenced hence serving as examples to the others who may think of indulging in crime. Corruption is a contributing force towards crime execution of since the offenders feel free to commit the crimes without minding the consequences as they know they can bribe the law enforcers and get away with it. Reduction of the corruption will in return result to reduction of crime rates as the youths will be held responsible for their criminal activities and hence they will tend to avoid it. These preventive measures among others will help reduce crime rates through dealing with the root causes of the crimes (Muhammad 9).
It is evident that youth crime is a problem in most countries as young people are increasingly getting involved in criminal activities. The problem however lies in the establishment of the main causes of crime youth but once this is clear, the problem can be dealt with appropriately through prevention of its crimes rather than waiting for its occurrence and intervening since this is much more tasking and entails aspects like rehabilitation which can be avoided through prevention.
Blyth, Maggie and Solomon, Enver. Prevention and Youth Crime: Is Early Intervention Working? United Kingdom: The Policy Press, 2009. Elliot, S. Delbert, Huizinga, David and Menard, Scott. Multiple Problem Youth: Delinquency, Substance Use and Mental Health Problems. Springer: New York, 2009.
McCord, Joan et al. Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice. USA: National Academies Press, 2001. Muhammad, Ali.
“Youth Crime: Causes and Remedies”. Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA), Paper No. 17223, 2008.
Mar. 4 2011. < http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.
de/17223/1/MPRA_paper_17223> Western, Stuart John, Lynch, Mark and Oquilvie, Emma. Understanding Youth Crime: An Australian Study. USA: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2003.
The following are the additional sources to be included in the annotated bibliography. Blyth, Maggie and Solomon, Enver. Prevention and Youth Crime: Is Early Intervention Working? United Kingdom: The Policy Press, 2009. This book is very essential in this study as it gives an insight to the prevention of youth crime.
It specifically touches on the importance of prevention rather than cure in regard to any given problem and in this case the authors give the benefits accrued to the prevention process as opposed to the cure. It focuses on the need for early intervention programmes that should be put in place in an effort to preventing the young children and the youths from engaging in criminal activities. It is a book that incorporates contributions from various experts in their effort to examine critically the government policy in relation to early intervention programmes, which are directed towards supporting families and preventing young children and youths from being involved in crime. It generally looks into the effectiveness of early intervention as a measure towards preventing youth crime. McCord, Joan et al. Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice.
USA: National Academies Press, 2001. This book has combined efforts of different authors to bring about an understanding of why the young people decide to turn into delinquent acts. The book specifically looks into the patterns of crimes undertaken by children and youth offenders. It gives a detailed insight into the contributing factors for instance parental care, peer pressure and how the society influences this. Apart from the reasons for indulgence of the youths in crime, the book highlights some of the solutions to youth crime for instance the interventions to be implemented in the juvenile justice system, the part played by law enforcers and other preventive measures. Muhammad, Ali.
“Youth Crime: Causes and Remedies”. Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA), Paper No. 17223, 2008. < http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17223/1/MPRA_paper_17223> This is a very informative research paper as it covers a wide range of aspects in regard to the topic of study, Youth Crime. It gives in depth details in relation to the factors that may facilitate the youths’ indulgence to various criminal activities and the consequences associated with the involvement of the youths in criminal activities including those faced by the offenders themselves and the society at large.
Apart from the causes and effects of youth crime, the author recognizes the fact that the ordeal of crime is in existence and more so it is in the rise and therefore outlines in details the appropriate measures that should be adhered to in an effort to preventing and avoiding the engagement of the youths in criminal activities emphasizing that dealing with the root causes is very crucial in preventing youth crime. Scott, S. Elizabeth and Steinberg, Laurence. Adolescent Development and the Regulation of Youth Crime. The Future of children, volume 18, Number 2, fall 2008, pp.
15 – 33. This journal article explores the changes that have taken place in the conception of the law over the past years. The authors shows of how the youth offenders were initially treated, the same way as adults, which is not right as the youths are quite different from the adults for instance in terms of the offences they commit and the punishment they can stand. The laws to be adopted for instance emphasizes on the application of aspects like rehabilitation as corrective measures as opposed to punishment which is employed in case of the adult offenders. It calls for attention to the application of the juvenile justice system to the delinquents as opposed to subjections to the adult courts. Western, Stuart John, Lynch, Mark and Oquilvie, Emma. Understanding Youth Crime: An Australian Study. USA: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2003.
The authors in this book give some good and educative information that can assist us in understanding the general overview of the aspect of youth crime. Although the case study is in the Australian population, it gives the idea of the relationship between the youths and crime. According to this book, the youths are in their transitional process from childhood to adulthood and they are susceptible to numerous troubles including criminal activities. The book focuses on an Australian study that was carried out to determine the major social factors that are deemed to have some impacts on the general lives of young people.
The study was conducted on 1,300 youths which is a total representative sample and from this a general overview is drawn which enriches our understanding of youth criminality.