Youth Crime: Theories And Behavior

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Youth crime: Theories and behavior

Youth crime is an evil that persists in today’s society. Young people often commit multiple crimes, ranging from less serious crimes to serious crimes. (P. Eg. Absenteeism and school dropout, different modalities of robbery, aggravated assault, theft, illegal possession of weapon, drug use and crimes related to controlled drugs until he incurred homicide). These illicit and antisocial activities usually drag them to adulthood as a lifestyle. Many children because of this will end up recruited in youth institutions or adults. If this is not corrected since its inception, you will be condemned to be a repeat offender, again and again to be inmate. Becomes a disease from which society will suffer directly or indirectly.

Environment theories

When it comes to youth crime, the environment comes to mind. In how the young interacts, his behavior, the different scenarios in which he develops. That is why the environment is the study approach, since it is a main factor in the beginning to the progress of the problem.

  • Theory of disorganization – Shaw and McKay (1942): Study the relationship between youth crime and urban areas: social, environmental factors and crime. I identify that the most activity areas was the industrial areas of the city. The characteristics indicated were: public residential, few owners or individual houses. The factors found are between housing conditions, demographic stability and social status. In definition, public homes were indicated as a risk factor, since there is a lot.
  • Classification of Variables – Davidson (1981): Classify the environmental variables that encouraged crime in two categories. Of which we are interested in the social environment. The social environment groups three base components of social interaction: family, neighborhood and school. Which formulous that both categories indicated are propeller of crime. From what we can see, he pointed out that, as propellants, direct or indirect encouraging are the family, neighborhood and school.


Crime theories

Learning theory by Albert Bandura (1950): People from an early age repeat behavior or attitudes that are approved, which make them recognized and comply with personal satisfaction. So that the minor or any individual will learn something will require reinforcements at the exact moment. Yes, it intends a opposite behavior must eliminate those reinforcements. Like other behaviors or activities they point out that it can also unlearn. What bases that the behavior of minors or young people is because of the presence of individuals with a limitation of positive values and maladaptive attitudes. Whereby the child upon receiving that stimulus or example will feel identified and empathetic towards that person adapting such antisocial behaviors.

Theory of rational choice: it is a method by which they intend to understand what youth criminals do. For this, the perspective of the person who is participating in illegal activities is studied. The rational choice indicates that the person is aware of what he does and is clear about his chances of success or failure when committing crime. Making calculated and logical decisions. Also, an antisocial personality is pointed out, although it has been proven that some of the prison criminals have antisocial personality disorder, it is not a factor that is present in all individuals who get involved in these illegal activities. The theory argues that for young people to stop committing them to provide stimuli and situations that develop empathy. Since they are also.

The theory of social tension: by experiencing negative emotions or psychological discomforts such as stress or anger could result in criminal behavior for feelings and thoughts involved at that time. The tension could be seen when the predetermined objectives do not reach, lost the positive stimuli or do some presence of negative stimuli. It consists of two categories, the first is to obtain money, earn status, respect and search for autonomy. The second, it can be lost of objects with emotional value, as well as the presence of harmful stimuli. Next, I will mention two examples that correspond to each of the categories.

  1. Example: "They could include being insulted before their colleagues or being a victim of a crime". (Smith, 2019).
  2. Example: “Learn that the parents of one are divorcing, have a romantic relationship or are being arrested by the police. Treatment methods imply several behavioral techniques, such as internal conversation, self-control, anger control and relaxation therapy ”. (Smith, 2019).


Social marginalization

In society the child lacks important participation, it is only tied to what an adult society imposes, complyantisocial behaviors and create their own ideology of life, although it is not accepted and largely penalized. Therefore, social marginalization is one of the greatest causes for which minors are corrupted.

Negligence or family carelessness

If there is a pattern in the family that rays negligence such as carelessness and lack of attention influences the attitude towards life, it will not have motivation or aspirations. Consequently, you can take antisocial behavior and also be absent. If we add that it lives or is exposed to crime and violence can be easily influenced to participate in criminal behaviors.

The behaviors that can give rise to the emergence of criminal conduct in minors in the family nucleus indicated by the researchers are: paternal crime, punitive parenting patterns, lack of discipline or paternal supervision, family conflict, child abuse and rejection byparents.

Other common risk encouraging in the family nucleus: family destructuring, inability to comply with the primary function of transmitting regulations to the child. Absent parents, drug users or alcohol, illiterate. Marginalized or uprooted families, poverty, numerous, prostitution, mental illnesses, extremely hard parents in parenting etc.

Also, there are other factors within the family nucleus in parenting when it is dysfunctional and conflictive. The problem solving model, when in the family they have a constant pattern of punitive and violent reactions between them or with others. Minors are exposed to this type of behavior will proceed to use it as a strategy outside the home in conflict situations. Other circumstances given that at home Haiga intramarital violence, it has been proven that it has a close connection. The more frequent and intense the conflict between their parents, the greater the probability that minors get involved in criminal behaviors. Adding to that the frequent use of alcohol and paternal incompetence are significant factors when the young man generates antisocial and criminal behavior. If violence came to be intrafamily focused on the child there will be a determining and harmful factor. Minors who are beaten, humiliated or careless by parents or guardians are at greater risk of developing some criminal behavior.

Youth gangs

Where criminal activities by gangs or youth criminals are most.). Of low resources, little monetary opportunity, structural deterioration and disorganization. It has been found that the determining factor is disorganization, being above the economic factor. It is thought that the lack of surveillance by residents causes these young people to easily involve these behaviors.

Regarding gangs and the illegal market exposed in these areas, the drug is very involved in all its aspects. The child is not only exposed to violence, but also see it as a model to follow. The minor adopts criminal behavior.

As this book shows one of the most important factors is the presence and direct exposure of violence and danger in these places called neighborhoods.

“Gangs are perceived as different groups of individuals within the communities. Its members see themselves as unique, different and worth demanding respect ”. (Smith, 2019).

These well -known gangs demand participation in criminal behaviors. These can be very diverse. (P. eg. Drug sale, robbery etc.) The reasons why young people join this type of group are because of the scarce of social skills to relate to other young people outside of that environment, which is participating in a negative school environment, desire and constant search to earn money from the money from thefaster or easier, discouraging and stressful living conditions.

The drug

Drugs are usually a component of gangs therefore take an important role. They can be in traffic, drug sales or consume them. When money is not at hand for drug purchase they can make the decision to get involved in other crimes in order to obtain it quickly. (Theft, armed robbery, assault etc.) One of the most serious cases would be incurring murder. Which addiction to these controlled substances causes the consumer not to have a clear rationing because of the desire to acquire and consume making accelerated choices.

“Studies have shown that many youth criminals are under the influence of drugs when they commit crimes. It is possible that most violent crimes committed by criminals are related to drugs ”. (Smith, 2019).

Possible environmental, cultural and family mechanisms

So far we can point out that the presence of violent or dangerous acts affect the development of crime in minors. Also, acquiring criminal behavior learning models. That can come from home or any other close environment such as the neighborhood or school that we will talk about in continuation. Young people being exposed to these environments affected by various factors could accept violence as a way to solve a problem that arises and desensitizing the consequences that this entails.

The school

The school is seen as an education and learning center that helps to develop both intellectual, personal and social if it is scarce in resources or mechanisms that reinforce not only education but also to decision -making and identification and rejection ofnegative behaviors this can become a dangerous place and facilitate crime. Also if the environment does not encourage inclusion among young people. A negative school environment can lead students to become criminals. One of the physical variables of the school environment that provide antisocial or criminal acts is the location of many students in a small space. Not promoting students’ interaction could promote aggressive behaviors in young people. The design of the courtyards also plays an essential role since it is an important factor in the development of crime. Depending on how they perceive the “good or bad” patio.

Research in school sectors

Mexico – Secondary: It was reported through investigation that a negative school environment that is understood as fights, drug sales, little hygiene, vagrants and general carelessness is related to higher indices of antisocial and criminal behaviors.

On the contrary, we have Britain in which they found that schools that had a fair and firm disciplinary atmosphere had low crime levels.

Found that there was more confrontation between students in schools where deviated behaviors of minors were ignored and when schools lacked resources for teaching.

United States: in one of the most relevant world powers it was found that low academic performance was causing students to make the decision to commit crimes. Of the main predictors of crime is the low academic performance in students. "Educational disability, school failure and criminal conduct are significant correlates". (Frías y Corral, 2009). School experiences that are characterized by low academic performance, poor behavior inside and outside the classroom, weak attachments to teachers and directors and lack of participation in school activities. They are potential school determinants of youth crime.

However, some schools have won against youth crime. It is mentioned that schools with a smaller structure with a number of teachers, students and the proper proportion of supplies of the necessary resources such as: computers and projectors. These components can be factors that help protection against crime in schools.

Other practices include clear and concise rules, absence of corporal punishments, pleasant working conditions for both teachers and students and, most importantly, teachers care about student.

The violence

Violence is not random, it is a product of a culture of family, social, economic, political conflicts. The globalized system that repudiates the lifestyle of young people and points it as crime. The goal of much of these young people is to distance themselves or reject a culture from which they were not participating in their creation. Young people before being part of an unbridled community of society at some point were victims of society or bad parenting. Some were discriminated, excluded, considered unable to adapt to the social environment. Therefore, crime see it as an alternative way to survive. Adding to this the easy access to drugs, lack of employment opportunities, physical or emotional health, profitable education, spaces for culture or sports, family disintegration, impunity and many other factors

The culture of consumerism

The culture of consumerism is well marked and present in today’s society. The intention of the great nations is that the fundamental thing is to subordinate all the men in the regions or areas to make the faithful consumers and suppliers of raw materials. From here comes the definition that the one that can consume more, more valuable will be in society. The media are those that instill this ideology of consumerism in all men. Society attaches to their individualism and only considers the individual as only one unit of consumption. It should be noted that everyone has as aspiration the same goals imposed by the society of consumerism, but it does not provide resources for everyone to consume in the same way. Given this situation, violence prevails as a form of response to social frustration.

According to this study, violence can be a consequence of consumerism imposed by society. Seeing the consumption of goods as the way of growing in society. In the society in which we live industrialized, urban and consumerist, it only behaves: ideology of well -being, profit career, primacy of having the crisis of the family, loneliness and anonymity. It is the sum of a violent society.

“As a consumer society, it feeds desires or aspirations and awakens hope that cannot be satisfied;While marginalizing the production and consumption process, excluding and discriminating against a large number of people, classifying and making them misfit and rebels;But, above all, it tends to destroy moral values ". (Jiménez, 2006).

According to Jiménez, R. (2006) when current society exalts as supreme values of life to pleasure and money, when it applauds success and wealth, obtained by the means that are, when it despises the honest man as a weak being who is not able toGet asserting while exalting the fort that prevails over others with cunning and violent.

The life in which we live creates violence and aggressiveness. But when in a place like neighborhoods, residential etc., The population increases considerably. It generates that the living people listed create the disorder and in passing: haste, lack of time, tension, complex life, lack of affective communication, among others. I indicate that, if we add to this the anomia, social hypocrisy, the consumerist creation of artificial needs, double morality, etc., We will understand that in such frustrating circumstances of life, violence and aggressiveness have to arise as a means to survive. Young people thanks to these aspirations could become antisocial or potential criminals if they reach a situation of maladjustment or nonconformity.

The consumerism factors that order young people to commit crimes in order to participate in consumerism. Ideations of unattainable consumerism. Discrimination and marginalization. Frustration before consumerist society. Work is only seen as a means to acquire a material good. They favor easy ways to acquire material goods. Violence as a tool to acquire goods that legitimately would not alk. Lacks of employment opportunities. Use of illicit shops to achieve consumerism etc.


Incapacitation is a strategy to control crime. They think that the best method to combat crime is to lock the individual in a long period. They understand that they would not cause more problems. But it has been shown that disability only achieves nominal reductions.

Prevention programs

The intention of prevention programs is that the child is not a criminal first. It has been found that well -designed programs that emphasize the treatment of punitive behavior significantly reduce crime. They focus on the causes of crime. They have long periods last. They depend largely on cognitive behavior and stress techniques that change the ways of thinking of minors.


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