Why do young offenders commit crime?

According to the research carried out in the recent years, it has been seen that youth is getting involved in crimes. When a young person is involved in a criminal case, he becomes a juvenile delinquent. He enters the age of criminal responsibility where he is being considered responsible for a crime. When a child is minor and has not reached the age of criminal responsibility, they cannot be charged with a juvenile crime. But when the child’s not a minor, he can be certainly charged with a criminal offense.

It’s important we understand that a child is not born with criminal tendencies. There are always some factors that contribute to juvenile crime, leading them to dangerous situations. The most common types of juvenile crimes include criminal mischief, burglary, and misconduct.

A definite intervention is required at an early stage and in order to prevent juvenile crime, its root causes must first be clearly understood.

The factors that drive a teen to crime can be complex. The social, political, and environmental factors that strongly influence teen criminal behavior must be understood first in order to fight against it.  

The major contributing factors to juvenile crimes include peer pressure, poor education, poor socioeconomic status, substance abuse, and neglectful parents. Let’s have a look at each of these factors to understand how they affect the teens and how they can be curtailed.

Peer Pressure

As young children reach adolescence, they go through a number of changes. All of a sudden, they wish to become independent and develop their own liking. They want to be known and accepted by their peers and social groups. In order to fit in and be accepted by their peers, they succumb to peer pressure. Peer pressure comes with both positive and negative influences. Research in the past has proved that many teens cite peer pressure as one of the major reasons for engaging in risky behaviors such as reckless driving, substance abuse, alcohol, teen sex, teen gang, and criminal activity.

Getting influenced by their peers’ behavior, most teens get involved in a risky activity and put themselves in huge problems. If teens are taught to differentiate between right and wrong, they can be more careful towards choosing the path for themselves.

Poor Education

One of the major contributing factors to juvenile crimes is lack of education. Children who do not pay attention towards their studies and spend time in leisure activity tend to remain ignorant of important aspects of life. School is the place where they get their primary education from and if they are skipping their classes frequently, they would remain ill-informed.

Many schools offer courses, seminars, and lectures on teen involvement in gangs, sex, and criminal behaviors. These seminars open up their eyes and make them closely see reality. When they will not attend these seminars, they won’t understand their importance. Parents should pay strong attention towards their child’s academics and make sure they attend their school regularly.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can be extremely dangerous for the teens. As mentioned before, substance abuse may derive from the influence of peers. The excess use of drugs can affect cognitive development of a teen, lowering his inhibitions and ability to evaluate risks. Drugs and alcohol have been regarded as powerful contributors to juvenile crime.

The use of drugs and absenteeism from school are interlinked, as one causes the other. Teens who are addicted to alcohol and drugs are more likely to skip their classes than those who don’t. Students who skip school are more likely to try alcohol and drugs for the first time. Absenteeism can negatively impact school grades, which can lead to poor education, low self-esteem, and low expectations for their future career development. When teens fail at school, they shift to other risky activity, get involved in juvenile crimes and then face incarceration.

Negligent Parents

Teens having negligent parents tend to become careless towards their academics, house chores, diet routine and overall physical appearance. When parents do not pay any heed towards the personal and social development of their teens, they think they have become independent and take up the most important decisions of their lives on their own. Poor socioeconomic status can also become a contributing factor to juvenile crime, urging teens for burglary.  

Parents teach their children to differentiate right from wrong by giving them examples. When parents do not play their role, teens follow examples from their other family members, peers, and social groups. When none of these concerned positive influences are present, they may suffer from moral poverty which would most likely follow teens into their adulthood. If moral values are not instilled in them in the formative years, they may later turn to juvenile crime simply because to them the act won’t seem immoral or wrong.