Criminal Law - Risk Factors in Youth

In this article, we're going to be taking a look at some of the factors that play a part in youth committing crime. Juvenile delinquents are not rare by any means. In general, crime is higher in the age group encompassing fifteen and twenty-five. The range of crimes is also quite a long list and certainly not limited to violent crimes and other offenses where monetary gain is the main target.

Psychological and behavioural risk factors include, but are not limited to, intelligence, impulsiveness and the inability to delay aggression and other things like gratification. Another example is restlessness. Certain people with personality disorders are more likely to become criminals if their condition - when not properly treated regularly - results in restlessness and lack of empathy.

One affects the other, as we can see from a lot of studies conducted into juvenile delinquency statistics. Children with a lower intelligence are likely to not fare well in school and other state learning institutions, which then affects the child psychologically. With less chances of netting a high-paying job that will ensure a comfortable, stress-free life, kids will be more inclined to take out their rage and disappointment on others. Lack of educational excellence is a factor in crime in and of itself. The same children who do not perform to the highest standards at school are likely to also become truants, leading to opportunities for crime and hanging with the wrong crowd. The Farrington reports back this up, saying that truanting is linked to offending.

Attaining wealth and status the legal way, or at least seeing a clear path to such attainment, usually halts criminal activity. The criminal activity in this case, then, is not one to simply survive but also to flourish, shedding some light on human nature and the willingness to commit illegal activities in the face of underachievement.

Intelligence is definitely one of the biggest factors to consider. However, measuring, identifying and testing for intelligence can be extremely troublesome. Further to this is the fact that that so many studies and IQ tests are completely different! This does not inspire confidence in kids who will do well in one version of a test and fail in another version that is, for instance, more visual and not so much writing-oriented.

These are just a few of the things affecting today's youth. For further information, see the book "Understanding Criminology," written in 2003, a truly excellent resource.