Juvenile and Crime: The Reasons and Today’s Situation

Research reveals that Crime activities can include violence and that the whole incidence of gang activity in schools has become quite frequent in the recent years. This is just a reflection of youth crime growth for the last two decades. In many nations we find that many young people get involved in criminal activity and delinquent behavior (Bakeer, 1987).

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Many youths are reported to involved in the participation of criminal activities; one aspect that is very clear is that very many youths are getting involved in criminal activities such as gang violence. Unlike what was happening in the 1980’s it is not just the low income youths that are involved in gang violence. Research reveals that the rate of youths from affluent families joining gang violence is on the increase (Finn, 2000).

Reasons Why Some Youths Engage In Crime

Research carried out indicates that youths from affluent families indicated that fifty five percent of the youths are involved in gang violence. This paper is therefore meant to find out why some youths are engaging in criminal activities such as gang violence while others do not. It is therefore found out that the increase of youths engaging in criminal activities such as gang violence is caused by various factors. The following are some of the factors that influence youths to get involved in gang violence.

Idleness

There is a famous saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Research shows that many youths are very idle after school and there is very minimal follow up of what they do after school. Many parents nowadays are too busy to monitor what their children do after school. Many parents have two or more jobs while others have enrolled for private classes after work. It therefore becomes the child’s sole responsibility of choosing what to do after school. This has been one of the reasons as to why youths are getting involved in criminal activities such as gang violence. We therefore find out that the youths are always idle after school and engaging in criminal activities becomes their only better option. This is also the case on weekends when the youth are not attending school.

The best example of the criminal cases committed by juveniles is in the case of Tim Reid in the Grand Auto Theft, reported by the Dominion Post on the 31st of May this year. He was reported to have stolen a car from a police and left him with severe injuries just by the road, reports indicated that Reid was found guilty of various criminal offenses such as escape from custody, reckless driving and stealing, in this case it was reported that Reid actually committed these crimes as a result of his upbringing (Dominion post, 2008).

Peer pressure

This is also a factor that makes youths to be involved in criminal activities such as gang violence. Many youths meet their peers in schools and in social gatherings who are involved in various criminal activities. Those who are not part and parcel of this are viewed as outcasts. Therefore to fit into their social groups they join them in committing crime so that they are not ostracized by their peers.

Internet and television

Very many youths are watching internet programs and television a great deal. Research indicates that eighty five percent of the youths in United States use their leisure time watching television or internet programs. These programs show movies of young people engaging in criminal offenses like gang violence. Youths regard those youths who engage in such movies to be heroes (Vigil, 2003).

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Within a short time, they start to emulate what they have seen so that they can also be considered as heroes. This makes them to automatically get involved in crimes such as gang violence groups in their neighborhood. Surveys carried out in May this year in United States shows that many youths have access to internet everyday and most have their personal television sets in their bedrooms. They therefore watch what they want without their parents easily knowing. Before long, they become involved in the same criminal activities they watch.

Many people such as NZ Herald has placed claims that many computer games that are related to violent crimes and normally found the leading factor to the increase in criminal offenses among the juvenile. In the same case we find that Bill Harrison who is a superintendent a national manager of the police youth services says that there have been an increase in criminal cases among the youth as a result of new products in the video game industry like the Xbox (Simon, 2007).

Stress

Another reason as to why youths get involved in criminal activities is because of stress. There are many youths who have stress emanating from various avenues like their social life. Others are stressed with lack of unemployment even though they are qualified. This makes them to engage in crime as a way of releasing this stress and also to get attention so that they can give their views. They may be disappointed by the government and the only way they think they can get attention so that they give their views is by getting involved in criminal activities. Some of them are stressed by school work among other factors.

When youths engage in criminal activities, they do it for various reasons. The association with peers that are delinquency is one of the strongest reasons for committing crime. There are also other factors like rebelliousness, alienation and early antisocial behavior. When the juvenile get involved in gang violence they become less committed to education and school. This results in less caring family environments (Jackson, 1986).

Reasons as To Why Some Youths Do Not Commit Crime

Due to growing concerns over the increased number of criminals among the youth, parents and the societies have brought up programs that ensure that the young criminals involved are restored back to being good people in the society and they have identified various way to nature them through this we find that most of the juvenile do not commit crime. This has been clearly handled through the following ways;

Setting firm guidelines

For those children who do not commit crime we find that their parents have actually set firm guidelines for their children in relation to their social associations. This is regarded as one of the ways of preventing children from getting involved in criminal activities. This setting of firm guidelines has played a big role in preventing the children from engaging in criminal activities.

Knowing the child’s friends

Many parents have been able to prevent their young children from engaging in criminal activities. This has been done by knowing the friends to their children; these parents have always been in a position to advise their children accordingly on choosing the right friends. It is very easy for parents to notice wayward friends to their children (Zigler, Taussig and Black, 1992).

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Rehabilitation

In many cases we find that most of the children who do not commit crime had at one time committed crime and were put under rehabilitation programs that helped them to become better members of the society. Rehabilitation normally involves the teaching and training the persons who are addicted to a particular behavior to stop and become an acceptable member of the society. Therefore under this, the society is given the responsibility of assisting these addicts by helping them to get hope through various programs that the criminals will be educated thus helping them to heal their bodies and mind. The strengths associated with rehabilitation that the addict will achieve through these Programs rehabilitation, allows the offender an opportunity to re-enter society as a responsible and productive citizen. The children who undergo rehabilitation programs normally be allowed receive counseling and guidance. In case where the community work is involved such as cleaning the environment and activities that they think suits to the foundation of their interests will make them appreciate who they are and accept their presence in the particular society.

Under this care where the children are normally fed with proper nutrition and are engaged in daily activities it makes the children develop a positive mind about life and their purpose of living they will also learn how love themselves and how to gain respect for themselves and the society at large this will help the juvenile regain their self-esteem. In the juvenile system there is always a combined supervision that will be able to provide an environment conducive enough to meet the special need of the juvenile offenders this will help the offender to join the society newly as a responsible and important child.

Communication with their parents

In the case where some of the children do not commit crime is that their parents listen to them and that they are given the opportunity to express their view on particular issues affecting them. Thus they do not engage in criminal activities so that they can be listened to.

As simple as it may seem, it is a solution to preventing youths from getting involved in criminal activities such as gang violence. When youths get involved in criminal offenses, they are trying to pass across a message. This happens after they have tried other avenues to be heard but no one has the time to listen. The solution to this problem is that parents need to create time and listen to what their young children have to say and their concerns (Regoli and Hewitt, 2006).

Guidance and counseling

The children who do not indulge in criminal activities are reported to have less stress in their lives and that they have been counseled in a way that they understand the consequences of indulging in criminal offenses. Since stress is regarded as one of the reasons as to why young children get involved in crime. This is done so that they can release their stress. When teachers and parents notice that a child is stressed, guiding and counseling has to be provided. Incase these stakeholders feel that they cannot give these services then they can seek for professional counselors. This helps in preventing them from opting for gang violence (Whyte, 1943).

Family therapy is regarded as the best method that has been used in helping the juveniles from committing crime. This is because many dysfunctions such as traumas resulting from criminal activities such as drug abuse, child abuse and other family matters are easily handled by using the child’s family members who produce a number of information such as personal characteristics that may help the counselor in handling the juvenile addicted to criminal activities. This is a treatment that may be used by many counselors and that they are advised to apply this therapy with regards to carrying a number of methods used in counseling. One of them is the supportive method of counseling which is applied in the counseling with an objective of relieving pain caused by depression on the individual and also by doing this the child is also allowed to recognize himself as an important member of the society. Most of the crimes make the child face loneliness and discriminated from the rest of the people in the society thus such technique is always used in preventing the juveniles from committing crimes (Mulvey, Arthur M.and Reppucci, 1996).

Conclusion

In conclusion crime intervention amongst the youths is very important and the efforts from all the key players in the communities will however reduce the motivation to commit crimes. We can therefore conclude that there are various ways through which youth can be prevented from getting involved in crime. One of them is through ensuring that there are after school and weekend activities. Parents need to know who the friends to their children are. All the stakeholders need to listen to youths because they also normally have concerns and issues that affect them. Parents need to set firm guidelines concerning children’s behaviors. All these will help prevent children from getting involved in gang violence.

The society and the government institutions are trying to carry out these practices by providing various services to members of the society and especially the youths. This is done by providing drug abuse education, counseling, parenting and youth mentoring education in which various government incentives end up training parents on the advantages of supervising their children and providing guidance to them. The parents are also sensitized on how to identify the risks and threats that their children are likely to face, through this, parents are therefore ready to intervene when the identify the signals of trouble in their children and incase of anything they are taken to the juvenile justice system. In the juvenile system there exist two main form of juvenile deterrence these are the incarceration and rehabilitation (Mulvey, Arthur M.and Reppucci, 1996).

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References

  1. Bakeer, D. (1987): Crisp: The Story of the L.A. Street Gang from 1972-1985. Los Angeles: Precocious
  2. California. District Attorney (1992): Gangs; Crime and Violence in Los Angeles: Findings and Proposals. Office of the District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
  3. Dominion post (2008) the Grand Theft Auto.
  4. Finn, A. (2000): Preventing Adolescent Gang Involvement, OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C
  5. Jackson, R. (1986): Understanding Street Gangs; Custom Publishing Co
  6. Mulvey E, Arthur M.and Reppucci N (1996). The Prevention and Treatment of Juvenile Delinquency: Clinical Psychology Review
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  13. Vigil, J. (2003) Rainbow of Gangs: Street Cultures in the Mega-City; Austin; University of Texas Press
  14. Whyte, W. (1943): Street Corner Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  15. Zigler E, Taussig C and Black K (1992). Early childhood intervention A promising preventative For juvenile delinquency Am Psychol, Vol 47(8): Pg 995-1008
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