Causes of The Juvenile Crime Rate Increase From 1990 To Present

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From 1990 to to the present there has been a sharp increase in juvenile crime across the United States. From 1996 to the present there has been a slight decline from the statistics in 1995(OJJDP). What was the cause for this uprise in juvenile delinquincy? I will discuss 2 different theories to why there was such an increase in juvenile crime rates. I will analyze the rise of the "Gangsta-Rap" culture in the early 1990's and how it may have affected teenagers that are in lower-income families. Many people believe that the increase in real life violence on television is a cause for violence in juveniles. I will discuss the evidence for this theory. It seems to me that the best theory to explain the rise in juvenile crime is the social constructionist theory. Different sub-cultures of teens have higher crime rates than others because of their interests, whether it be the music that they listen to or the types of television programs that they watched as child.

In the early 1990's a new form of Hip-Hop music appeared in America known as

Gangsta-Rap. This style of Hip-Hop had lyrics pertaining to killing police, gang warfare, guns, and

robberies. This style of music perked interest in teenagers across the country. Song titles such as

"F*ck the Police" gave laughter to teenagers in middle and upper class America, but for these rap

artists, the lyrics they wrote were their way of life. The Gangsta-Rap culture came straight from the

worst neighborhoods on the Pacific Coast of the United States, where this kind of lifestyle was led

by 1000's of people stuck in the slums of America. Could the lyrics from these kind of songs

promote violence in low income areas where teens look up to these Rap artists? Teenagers that

grow up in neighborhoods that are considered low-income (more so in larger cities than suburban

areas) have a very low amount of opportunities to leave these areas and become successful in life.

Teens in these areas are looking for the easy way out. There isn't many legal ways of getting out of

a slum and becoming successful. Teens in these areas are more likely to sell drugs and perform

robberies to make money than hold a steady job. In essence, crime is already higher in low-income

areas than it is in higher-income areas. When gangsta rap was introduced in the early 1990's, It

became very popular with people facing the...

... middle of paper ... at different clicks[hippies, punkers, and

"gangsters" (There is no dominant term used for this group. It is the group deeply involved in rap

music. They wear lots of gold jewelry, medallions, etc, and have their pants sagged low)]. I will

perform a study of crimes, drug use, aggressiveness, and academic standings of the teens involved.

Many vital statistics will come out of these studies. These statistics can be used to study

many different correlations between juveniles and crime. This knowledge can be used for future

reference in the fight to lower juvenile crime rates and understand problems before they start.


Lefkowitz, Monroe M. 1977. Growing Up to be Violent: A Longitudinal Study of the Development of Aggression. New York: Pergamon.

Wolfgang, Marvin E., Terence P Thornberry, Robert M. Figlio. 1987. From Boy to Man, from

Delinquincy to Crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. Dec 14,1994. Television Gets Closer Look as a Factor in Real Violence. New York Times, pp A1, D20.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquincy Prevention. [On-line]. Available:

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