Understanding why kids commit crimes is essential to preventing these crimes from happening in the first place. Any minor who breaks state or federal law by committing a crime is known as a juvenile delinquent. Juvenile delinquency is a broad term used to define both minor violations (such as habitual truancy) and major violations such as arson or burglary. Minors include kids and teens under the age of 18.
Identifying the various issues that lead to a kid committing a crime is the first step in helping the minor change their behavior in the future. Addressing these issues clocks in at a close second.
Here are some factors that contribute to kids committing crimes in the area:
A Broken Family
A child’s family plays a fundamental role in the adoption and development of their moral and ethical values. Parents, siblings, and other immediate relatives that live the minor directly contribute to the grooming of their personality and shaping their behavior.
Kids and teens exhibit signs of delinquency when there’s a disturbance in their family life. For example, if one of the parents is violent or exhibits extremist behavior (gambling, drinking, drugs), it directly affects the child’s behavior both within the home and outside, which oftentimes results in them seeking attention from other peers who are going through the same thing.
Speaking of peers, if a kid’s peers are committing delinquent acts, they may feel pressure to take part in those acts to feel accepted. These may include acts such as underage smoking and drinking, getting involved with drugs, taking part in vandalism, engaging in violence, skipping school on a regular basis, and shoplifting.
A parent who regularly hangs out with their child, has information about their friend circle, is in contact with the parents of their kid’s friends, and regularly guides their child in a moral and friendly manner is much less likely to see them turn to criminal activity.
A Lack of Moral Guidance
In contrast, if a parental figure is absent to interact with the child and influence their behavior in a positive way, the kid may steer into delinquency. A parent’s guidance is the most fundamental factor when it comes to deterring potential criminal behavior in a minor.
In most instances of juvenile delinquency, the child was either neglected by their parents or negatively influenced by the behavior of their parents. Said parents in those cases tend to be breaking the law themselves. A child’s risk of falling in with the wrong crowd increases exponentially if they lack the moral guidance given to them by a sound parental figure.
Substance abuse is, unfortunately, widespread among teens and adolescents in schools. Kids with drug habits are not only more prone to commit crimes to pay for their habit, but also more likely to hang out with other substance abusers who propel them toward delinquency.
In this case, counseling and treatment for their drug habit is the only real solution. If left unchecked, substance abuse causes self-worth to worsen, resulting in the abuser taking criminal actions that they wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
In cases of crimes such as grand larceny, the minors who commit them are usually from a financially poor background. They commit these crimes as a way of providing money for themselves and their families. Some disadvantaged kids turn to the path of dealing drugs to make money.
Poorer neighborhoods, where kids are often compelled to feel like they have to commit crimes in order to prosper financially, generally have a higher rate of crime as compared to other neighborhoods where poverty isn’t prevalent.
Violence in said neighborhoods is another reason why these kids turn to crime. This is true whether the violence they witness is in their own home, in the homes of their neighbors, or out on the streets. Kids often defend themselves by saying that their violence is a form of street survival in order to deal with gang members in the area.
If a child is removed from this type of environment, their tendency for crime is also removed. Unfortunately, this is not an option for most of them.
Children who don’t do well in school as a result of schools being overcrowded and underfunded, or because they aren’t given any incentive to excel in their education at home, often take to skipping classes, failing their exams, and acting out on campus.
Poor schooling also instills a disregard for societal norms, which further contributes to a criminal mindset.
By understanding the impact of these issues and taking measures against them, kids can be deterred from juvenile delinquency before they get into any real trouble.