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Severity of Youth Crime and it’s Prevention \ Intervention Services

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All crime deeply affects human life and society.  The most sensitive and critical is youth crime. Juvenile delinquency is another popular term for youth crime. There are many cities around the world where youth crime has increased to an alarming level. One of the primary reasons for increased youth crime is family. A child needs to grow up and be nurtured well and properly by his parents. A balanced family is essential for a child’s mental development as well as physical development.  Negligence is another very prominent reason for youth crime. A teenager belonging to a well-off family also gets involved in a crime when his parents neglect him.   Special attention is required in order to know why it happens, how to prevent it from happening and most importantly, how to control it.


General Overview

Crime is an action or error which constitutes an office and condemned under law. From the sociological perspective, a more social perspective or approach has been taken to define and understand crime. This attempt analyses the act itself and the law. It also tries to identify whose right the law is trying to protect. It also makes a distinction between private behaviour and public offence young people. Juvenile delinquency commonly occurs when a person is fifteen or sixteen years old (, n.d.) It is an older term used to describe the behaviour of teenagers acting in a manner inconsistent with social expectation. Juvenile delinquency is criminal behaviour by a young person. The majority of legal systems authorise particular methods to manage adolescent offences. Such strategies include immature detention cells and courts. Many believe that drugs and alcohol and youth crime are co-related. In some cases, young people get involved in trading drugs, commit offences like breaking or entering into a house or robbery to manage money to have the capacity to procure drugs or alcohol. A study shows that young people who consume alcohol or use drugs are associated with violent activity or crime. Neglecting or abusing a child is often considered a precursor for a teenager involved in a criminal occupation.  Research work on individual families proposes that economic and social stress and disrupting the parental process affect committing a juvenile crime. Further examination shows the relationship between effects of poverty, child-rearing and delinquency and neighbourhood in youth offence. It concludes that these areas are the reason for a higher level of deficiency in parenting, such as neglecting a child. A prominent dependency reflects between the stage of child neglect and youth participation in a crime. A young person inclined to be related to criminal activity influenced by imperfect parenting will possibly become allied with the transgression if he lives in a neighbourhood that the offender proves rather than resides in another community free of wrongdoers. The implication of these findings for crime control consists of the importance of escalating family assistance and parenting skills to minimise juvenile involvement in crime (Farrington, 1996). 


Precursors of youth crime

The reason behind youth misdemeanour is, it is diverse and contradictory. Objections concerning childhood behaviour can be identified through two centuries. Importance was not given to the early days of a young person. Many times the opposite scenario was more accurate. In eighteen century, abandonment in Europe was quite an ordinary incident. The cruel act of disposing of illegitimate children can be traced even up to the nineteenth century. Culture often decides on the survival of the newborn child. In the early nineteenth century, most historians believed and identified definite behaviour or expression of childlike behaviour as a foremost problem. However, there is a difference of opinion as to when the observation took place in the society. Some believe it was in the years of 1840 and 1820 or even eager. The combination of accounts, social survey, and an imperial investigation identified the problem of youth crime, but even before this, other conceptual views were found regarding childhood behaviour and welfare like how they should behave, what relationship should exist among different age or group of people and the role of family influence (Munice, 2015). Negligence during formal learning and the destructive impact of industrialisation over family life was the anxiety among general people concerning the activities of criminal boys and girls in London and other parts of the country. Publishing houses started publishing the sensational story of youth crimes and violence. Newspapers printed incidents of juvenile misdeed with detailed information.  Young boys got trained by men known as lads-men as to how to steal and later resale the stolen goods. In 1817 a man named Thomas Duggin was known as a famous thief trainer. He was involved in occupation in London’s notorious St. Giles slum. Flash houses were identified as the nurseries of crime. During the half of the nineteenth century, court evidence and articles from newspapers recommended that juvenile felony was a genuinely serious problem in society. Gatherings such as fairs, marketplaces, and regular execution places, were specifically profitable places for young thieves. Petty theft was common among teenagers or younger boys (White, n.d.) 

 Research shows that premature, troublesome, dishonest, aggressive or antisocial behaviour was considered to be an important precursor of later offending. A study shows teachers’ rating of defiance, disrespect disturbing the class, and impatience in kindergarten and first grade later identified as frequent offenders. The majority of the regular offenders were reported to be badly behaved by their teachers when they were in first grade. Aggressiveness in the first grade at the age of 6 is significantly related to offending. Those who were rated moderately or severely aggressive were among those with the highest in offending. Childhood disorder activity and adult antisocial personality are interrelated.  Cohesive syndromes.  The children who steal truant ran away from home, where the aggressive, erratic disciplinary problem in school, pathological liars grew up to be an alcoholic, arrested, placed in mental hospitals. Social deprivation, which includes poverty, slum housing, dependence on social welfare and parents with less occupational prestige, is also considered to be a precursor of offending. Juvenile conditions predicted in low-income families large family size, inadequate housing, and an erratic paternal work record. Poor educational achievement identified as a fundamental precursor of offending. The connection between school failure and offending has been well established. The probability of offending increases when there is the presence of truancy, school retardation, and low socioeconomic status. Low intelligence is also a separate predictor of juvenile connections. Bonding with delinquent peers was a critical or closely related reason for delinquency. Mixing with wayward friends is an essential precursor for offending since most aberrant activities occur in groups. Young people who are involved in such activities have delinquent friends. The most critical precursors of offending were prenatal stress, congenital disabilities, a low standard of living, a poorly educated mother, low family stability, short intelligence and placement in a learning disability class (Loury and Wilson, 1987).


Risk factors related to gender

Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development is a research work focused upon defying differences between males and females in disruptive, hostile, and aggressive behaviour, illegally committed by four hundred and eleven boys aged approximately 8-9. The same study investigated the pros and the cons in making an estimation of misbehaviour or antisocial behaviour between brother and sister. Family-based prevention techniques focused on risk factors are effective measures in reducing the behaviour. The definite outcome of the risk factor for sisters compared with their brothers has a clear suggestion for risk absorbed prevention for families. Risk on low-income families shows that 22% of daughters of any age were convicted compared with 6% of higher-income families. In low-income families, nearly 54% of brothers at any age were convicted as compared with 37% of higher-income families. This study shows that almost two-thirds of the criminal sisters compared with half of the convicted brothers indicate that the gender difference is an important factor when risk-focused prevention techniques are selected. Further analysis of the study shows that parent training and educational methods of parental discipline, parental supervision and parental encouragement praising and parental interest in children are focused on having more parental influence in lessening female behaviour compared to male offences. Moreover, similar techniques adopted by parents to lessen family poverty are comparatively more conducive to lessening female behaviour. However, the absolute number of offences reduce is more for male than female as the male number is more than the overall offence committed(Farrington and Painter, 2004). One of the strongest predictors of crime is gender. Especially when in the case of violent crime is gender. Different data and surveys related to detention and victimisation reflect that between women and girls, men and boys are noticeably more involved in criminal activities, irrespective of whether it is serious misconduct or not a serious crime. However, data also indicate an increase in female offenders may rise. Well-established evidence shows and suggests that male is comparatively more aggressive than females. Theories and explanations of crime do not depend on gender. According to a Biosocial study, a male is more involved in crime and hostility than a female, and they also tend to report the crimes. Biological factors among females are more predictive of crime. On the other hand, for the male, it is the environmental factors. In general, conventional crime theories do not adequately explain the immense influence of men in violence or crime. Society considers women involved in crime as doubly deviant because she defies the law and her general role. In the past, scholars and commentators explained the lesser involvement of women in criminal activity as a less attainable attribute to their biology or sexuality. Moreover, female the confusing sex with gender. One of the first people to explain female crime was Cesare Lombroso. The socio-biological approach focused on different factors related to female crime. Parental deprivation, failure to bend in feminine duties and responsibilities, psychiatric and familial disorders, impaired physical health, sexual corruption, conduct disorder, and premenstrual and menstrual syndromes. However, scholars and commentators have criticised these factors. On these issues, researchers connect the female offender’s multitude of factors like homosexuality, alcohol abuse and psychiatric disturbance, neurological abnormalities and the problem with impulse control (Denno, 1994). Risk factors mean certain characteristics. When variables of hazards exist with a person or an individual, it is more likely that this particular individual rather than any individual will develop a disorder. Risk factors also include or predict a high possibility of offending later. Risk factor also means anything that increases the likelihood that a person might suffer. Exceptionally one particular risk factor is related to a meticulous disorder. The influence of risk factors may vary with the development of an individual. When a person is exposed to varieties of risk factors, the effect is always cumulative. Risk factors can be categorised mainly into three categories: individual, social and community. These extensive risk factors consist of some sub-factors. Prenatal and Perinatal complications that later relate to criminal activity are the sub-risk factors that belong to the individual category.  These two sub-risk factors can result in serious health problems that influence and cause negativity in the development. From this point of view, youth are at high risk for delinquency.  Family structure or characteristics belong to social risk factors.  Weak parenting knowledge, family capacity and disorder, child ill-treatment and parents with antisocial behaviour are the risk factors connected with youth crime. For teenagers from 12 years to 14 years, the main risk factor for committing the crime is the existence or mixing with antisocial peers. Peer influence and their acceptance of deviant activity play a significant role. This influence is even more crucial when it is very interactive with their parents. It was only in 1990 when much attention was given to neighbourhood and community factors and influences on offending. This includes school policies and neighbourhoods. In a neighbourhood with a high level of poverty, children are at risk of getting involved in crime (Shader, n.d.).    


Childhood risk factors

Childhood risk factors include individual and family risk factors. Risk factors are previous factors that enhance the consistency and duration of offending. It is often difficult to define anyone’s risk factor as a reason for offending. There is no evidence to show that heavy drinkers, unemployed and divorced are individuals with disruptive personalities; they influence another person to become antisocial. Likewise, delinquency is a group action; therefore, generally, it is presumed and evident that a delinquent person will be accompanied by friends involved in delinquent activities. However, it does not mean such a category of friends is the cause of delinquency. Some factors are connotative as well as ordinary. Long-term variations between individuals are the cause of antisocial tendency and may also reflect changes in alcohol consumption. A heavy drinking habit is considered to be an incidental trigger rather than a long-term cause. If a child is susceptible to the flawed child-rearing method, it might cause the child to be antisocial but will not be considered as an indicator. Most risk factors depend upon the change that takes place between individuals. On the other hand, prevention demands changes within individuals. Changes and influence happen when a risk factor that can make a difference within the individual. The findings within an individual are not commonly the same as the findings between individuals. Between individuals, unemployment is a risk factor. Because there is a possibility that between an employed individual and unemployed individuals will become offenders, a study shows cohort delinquency was an effective influence regarding delinquency among individuals but did not foretell delinquency within the individual. On the contrary, inferior parental control, inferior parental corroboration and minimal connection to a boy in family activities indicate the possibility of delinquency in between and within individuals. These three changes in the family are perhaps the reason for the offending action of the young man, and the influence of delinquent peers was an indicator of offending. The basic concept concerning prevention based on risk factors is obvious: once the prominent risk factors related to crime or offending are identified, a method designed for its prevention. There are four fundamental preventive methods. Often programs and policies designed to prevent or obstruct crime from happening are arrest by the police, the court order to a correctional facility and in an extreme case, the death penalty. Crime prevention also includes a measurement taken before the occurrence of transgression (Welsh and Farrington, 2010). Development prevention is designed to intervene to stop the advancement of criminality in an individual. Development prevention primarily concentrates on those risk factors found in a study concerning human development. The social conditions and institutions like family, peers, social standards, clubs, and organisations are expected to change by the influence of community prevention. This change will reduce the number of offending activities in residential communities. Situational prevention is that interference is intended to stop the rate of crime by reducing the opportunity to commit a crime and at the same time increase the risk and difficulties in offending. Criminal justice prevention attributes customary impediment, confinement, and reformative strategies carried out by law enforcement authority and the criminal justice system (Maguire, Morgan, and Reiner, 2007).


Individual and family risk factors

Risk factors of youth crime are divided into many categories, but the most influenced ones are risk factors that belong to the family and risk factors that are involved with the individual. Family risk factors include (a) Prenatal and perinatal issues. Mixtures of circumstances during the instance of birth is considered a future problem for children. Such as low birth weight, comparatively an undersized baby and difficulties at the moment of birth. This complication later results in delinquency. The effect of low birth weight and perinatal hurdle depends on whether the child was raised in a negligent and less advantaged family. A child born with Inferior birth weight has been associated with a fact if a mother was a regular smoker, consumed alcohol or used drugs during her pregnancy. Children with minor physical abnormalities and brain damage are also at risk of committing crime and violence. Children born to a young mother are at high threat of school achievement, are involved in antisocial attitudes and develop a habit of smoking, alcohol, and illegal drugs. One analysis reflects that teenage mothers are compared to a mother who is not a teenage mother, which is inefficient as to know how to be a good parent. Therefore her children are possibly performing poorly in an educational institution as an effect, later on, becomes an offender. Where children are living with their real father, and he is playing the role of a protective father, these horrible consequences are less;(b) Insufficient knowledge on parental supervision and control: Children are at risk of criminality when they live with parents who are harsh, cruel and neglecting their children when they are adolescents. Parents with poor control over their children have been related to criminality. A study shows 55% of boys who were poorly observed and dominated by their parents at a young age were later criminals. The combination of harsh discipline and pitiable parenting in childhood connected with a high risk of committing crime and violence. Another study indicates physical abuse of a child at this childhood time leads to a danger of becoming an offender; (c) Family conflict: Researchers consider that family conflict is a high-risk factor compared to family structure. Families with divorced or separated parents are more at risk of children exposed to becoming an offender ;(d) A family with a history of criminal activity: Study shows children with parents involved in criminal activities or elder siblings involved in illegal activity are mostly become, offenders. Over 60 % of boys became offenders whose fathers were involved in criminal activity ;(e) Small earnings,  inferior habitation, and an outsized family: children from low-income families mostly get involved in crime than those children who belong to a well-off family. The harmful effect of bad housing and big families is usually correlated with low income and other poverty issues ;( f) Neglect: parents who neglect their children are often involved in mischief activity. They cannot fail to manage problems like excessive arguments, terrorising and insignificant theft (, n.d.). Individual risk factors include (a) Hyperactivity and impulsivity: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a personal risk factor primarily seen in pre-school children whose age is less than two years. The behaviour is characterised as acute restlessness, erratic behaviour and difficulty in maintaining concentration. The study recommends that the strong genetic component of ADHD is invariably linked with hostile behaviour in childhood, adolescence and most usually into adulthood. A study on hyperactive boys and control group boys between nine and seventeen showed that hyperactive boys were more prone to commit a serious offence. Similar results found in a study in Sweden. Further, it was found hyperactivity is usually associated with children’s poor social functioning and just criminality. Research shows that hyperactive, impulsive, and attention deficit was not just another measure of antisocial personality and behaviour. After controlling other conduct, the study placed ADHD towards the tendency to become a persistent and violent offender. Hyperactive, abruptness and cognitive impairment are so interrelated that researchers are not sure if to treat these traits as one or several risk factors. Sensitivity and fearless, risk-taking manners both are identical to hyperactive offensive behaviour. In the Cambridge study, the rating by parents and peers on boys eight to ten years old was independently linked to being criminally prone up to the age of thirty-two years. Lack of concentration and composure in behaviour were sure indicators towards criminality ;(b)Shallow perception and cerebral decoration: Low score on intelligence test by an adolescent who is less than three years is coupled with enlarged risk towards criminality as teenagers and later as adults. In a Swedish study, it was found that preschool boys with IQ scoring 88 compared to an average score of 101 became adult offenders, and those with average IQ scores were non-offensive. There was considerable variation in the result after certain limitations in the social class. The little non-verbal aptitude test score is closely linked with low verbal intelligence and low attainment in primary school. Poor verbal astuteness is closely associated with self-reported offending, and this was contrary to the conviction that less intelligent offenders were more likely to get caught. Limited intelligence and attainment continued to predict offending after controlling variables such as low family income and large family size. Study findings suggest a significant connection between fencing and the ability to manipulate abstract concepts. Delinquent boys’ performance is better on the non-verbal tests, such as object assembly than on vocal tests. Poor reasoning ability leads to low IQ scores and attainment in schools and provides an explanation of their later involvement in crime due to their limited aptitude to focus the penalty of their action and to sympathise with their injured parties. Another aspect of cognitive impairment to explain childhood rough behaviour and its link to terrorizing and aggressive crime; they recommend that belligerent adolescents are extra opting than others to misapprehend the act and collective attitude of other children as antagonistic and spiritual. This finding has been labelled as ‘cognitive bias processing. It discourages preventive measures on affected children. Because according to this finding, disturbed children could be assisted to look at social signals more efficiently and be more friendly and free; (c) Alienation and Lack of Social commitment: Social survey shows young people left out from the prevailing social milieu, there is an increased risk of delinquency and drug abuse. In such an environment, young people do not acknowledge responsibilities towards other people. Usually, young people in such a setting may consider that system and policy are for other people. They develop an attitude that is typically antagonistic and confrontational towards members of society ;(d) Premature association with misdemeanour and drugs mishandling: Illegal drug practice or enthusiasm in transgression is a pointer of elevated risk in children’s lives. Children who use drugs from an early age become vicious when and prone to turn into regular offenders with a tendency to be back to the previous habit of committing a crime;(f) Friends involved in crime and drug misuse: A Study shows the young offenders mostly act in small groups, rather than alone. The influence of an adverse peer group instigates a juvenile to become involved in criminal activity. There is a tendency for antisocial offspring and infantile people to gravitate toward each other’s companionship. During audiences, peer influence on anti-social behaviour is strong (Childhealthresearch. EU, n.d.).



Youth crime is a heavy burden and pressure on society. It causes severe moral degradation. It is possible to identify the possible solution for this intense situation.  The most critical and effective prevention and cure of youth crime are families.  A teenager understands society through his family. It is his first school. All steps, research works, laws, and recommendations will fail to make an impression on preventing youth crime if the family is not solid and decent. Coordination of education between family, school and society can be a successful step to fight a problem. School and association should involve a child more in creative, intellectual, skill development and social activity to keep their mind away from human life’s frustration and negative side.  Involvement in family responsibility is one method that can help a youth not get involved in antisocial activities.     














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