This paper is about the rise of juvenile crime. It reveals the factors responsible for the high rise in crime and steps on how we can curb it. Juvenile crime is a major problem for people nowadays. Young children have resorted to acts of brutality and violence. It is hard to believe that young children can be responsible for acts of rape, assault, robbery and homicide. The rates of juvenile crimes have been fluctuating throughout the years. The U.S. Government hasn't done much to counter this problem. This paper shows the major factors behind juvenile crimes. It also shows practical and mature ways of countering this problem without being too harsh.
What is Juvenile Delinquency
What is classified as juvenile delinquency? The U.S. Code states that it is a violation of the law if a person under the age of 18 commits a crime. That is classified as juvenile delinquency. As Juveniles can't be sent to jail they are instead sentenced to juvenile detention centers. (Juvenile Justice Statistics)
Crime is one of the biggest problems faced by most nations. This is a very big problem in the United States of America. One of the biggest battles the U.S. faces is with juvenile crime. Combating juvenile crime has become a very bitter battle. It is one of the nation's fastest accelerating problems. Stout writes: "Yet, historically, this has not always been the case, indeed America used to be known throughout the world for her high standards of morality. Indeed, it is actually only about thirty years ago since crime started becoming such a problem. ("A Cause of Juvenile Crime Today," Tim Stout")
Despite the rate of overall crime dropping down all over the country, juvenile crime is one category where no difference has been made. Juvenile crime keeps on increasing year after year. The numbers of homicides committed by juveniles under the age of 17 have tripled from 1984 to 1994. Studies have shown that if this problem is not curtailed it could skyrocket within the coming years. Experts believe that at least 25% of all murders in 2005 will be committed by juveniles. Arrest rates increased between 1987 and 1994 the rate of assaults doubled, as well as murders.
It is not only a troublesome factor in the cities but also the suburban areas. One of the biggest problems is juvenile crime. Families move away to new areas where teenage crime is not a problem. However running away is not the solution. It would make more sense to find out the root of this problem and tackle it once and for all.
Moving to new areas hasn't done much to solve this problem. The prisons, jails and juvenile homes are overflowing with juveniles. This has left a lot of people vulnerable, as there is no solution for this problem as yet. Putting juveniles in jail won't help matters any and instead flare them up. There are lots of reasons why crimes are committed. If juvenile crime isn't curbed then this sparks a repeat pattern, which results in those juveniles resorting to crimes in their future lives. A lot of criminals started out committing juvenile crime. If there were proper safeguards they wouldn't be in jail today. Juvenile crime can be blamed on social as well as economic factors. Juvenile crime has reached epic proportions. There should be a lot of focus on how this should be handled.
Reasons for Juvenile Crime
There is no main reason why juveniles commit crimes. It can be linked to a variety of reasons such as violence, drugs, family related problems (instability, family violence), exposure to delinquent peers, poverty, lack of opportunities, gang related violence, video games, substance abuse, discrimination, exposure to violence and the glorification of violence by the media.
Family life in the U.S.A. isn't like what it used to be. Family values don't exist anymore.
The National Fatherhood Initiative points out that "children who were part of the 'post-war generation' could expect to grow up with two biological parents who were married to each other. Eighty percent did. Today, only about 50% of children will spend their entire childhood in an intact family." 9. (Jerry Regier, Hearing before U.S. Senate Sub-Committee, 1997)
The bonds between the family structure and crime have become so strong that the ties between race and crime as well as poverty and crime have been blemished.
A lot of families have problems (physical and emotional.) parents are usually handling a number of jobs. They aren't home most of the time. As a result a lot of families are dysfunctional. This has a severe impact on a lot of children. Lots of children grow up in a single parent household. Juveniles come from families where they have either been abused or neglected by their parents. This creates a lot of emotional scars which scar them for life. This also prompts extremely high levels of aggressiveness and antisocial behavior.
Another strong reason has been linked to absentee parents. Parents are the symbol of morality and are responsible figures. There is also the possibility that the parents of the juvenile offender aren't good enough for his/her child and not teaching good values. If children are left by themselves then they are left at the mercy of the world. They have to spend their life without the moral teachings of their parents and don't have an understanding of what's right or wrong. This is why they don't care about the values of another person's life. They lack a conscience. Juveniles who grow up with learning disorders are the resultant of mothers who take alcohol or drugs during their pregnancy. This does not let the disadvantaged child distinguish between right or wrong.
Sometimes children are raised by a single parent. With the absence of either parent, the child is free to do whatever he/she pleases. Studies have shown that a father figure is a very critical and irreplaceable factor in a child's life. A lot of juvenile delinquents have grown up without the influence of a father in their lives. A mother can't handle being the single working parent in the house and take care of the fatherly duties. So in order to make things work they hand over the monetary responsibilities to their children. This gives them a free rein to do anything they want. There is no one left to discipline them.
Poverty Line, Discrimination, Lack of opportunities
The numbers of juveniles living below the poverty line have increased by more than 42% between the periods 1976 to 1992. Poverty is an important reason why children resort to crime. In order to escape their dreary lives, they resort to juvenile crime. There is a lack of opportunities for them. This contributed to a rise in juvenile crime. Frustration prompts them to seek a better life. They are dazzled by the lifestyles of other people. This makes them want to seek money. Opportunities aren't often given to these youth because of discrimination. Studies say that people of different races are often discriminated against. Opportunities aren't provided to African-Americans or members of other ethnic races. Discrimination is a reason why they feel like outsiders and resort to a life of crime to justify their stance.
Statistics prove that 53% of children living in single parent households "are likely to be arrested" and 38% of them are at the risk of committing a serious crime as they enter adulthood. Statistics also say that these juveniles have the tendency to become juvenile offenders. (Supporting Effective Parenting: Partnering with Parents, reference 13)
Media factor major factor of juvenile crime can be linked to the media and the personification of violence. Children are prone to the effects of TV. The news media as well as entertainment media project a lot of violence in its programming. There is at least one murder trial or car chase shown on TV every day. It has been estimated that at "an average a child views more than 8000 murders and 100000 acts of violence" on TV (American Psychological Association). All that exposure can cause a lot of aggressive behavior, as well as bouts of crime and destructive violence. A reason is that the media glorifies violence. A juvenile delinquent may want to emulate what he/she sees on TV. Violence on TV affects all youngsters regardless of the age, gender, economic level or intelligence. Violence on TV can be blamed for half the number of homicides committed by juveniles. There is a lot of programming on TV, which shows violence as fun. As a child is going through his/her development cycle, this is not the right thing to be viewed.
Guns and Firearms
Firearms and guns have contributed to the rise in juvenile crimes. It is believed that the number of firearms related crimes committed by juveniles increased by 86% between 1988 and 1992. Due to the number of juvenile gun users homicide has increased from a high rate of 65 to…