Teen Crime

Teen Crime

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How safe are teens wherever they go? Despite many people's attempts, teen violence is something that hasn't completely come to an end. Recently, 59% of students in grades six through twelve knew where to get a gun if they wanted one, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The U.S. Surgeon General shows that each year, students spend $5.5 billion on alcohol, perhaps the cause of many violent crimes committed by them. Northeastern University's College of Criminal Justice reports that from 1985 to 1993, murders committed by people between the ages of 14-17 increased 165%. Certain adult crimes on the other hand, have decreased. There are many organizations out there that help prevent teen violence, some which include the National Alliance For Safe Schools, Mothers Against Teen Violence, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and more. Is there anything else though, that we can do to prevent teen violence from escalating to an even higher level?
The numbers are getting bigger and bigger. Since 1985, murder arrests of teens have jumped up 92%. In the year 2000, 2,369,400 youth arrests were made. Many which included violence towards others. In 2005, out of the 36,000,000+ inhabitants we have here in California, 2,503 were charged for murder, 9,392 for forcible rape, 114,661 for aggravated assault, and 692,467 for theft. Although crime here in California isn?t as high as it was around the ?90s, it is slowly increasing through the years. Statistics show that something needs to be done.
Increasing crime varies on crime type. For instance, between 2000-2004, Larceny has increased. Also, from 1999-2005 vehicle theft and burglary have increased dramatically. On the other hand, forcible rape in recent years is slowly decreasing. This goes to show that crime is unpredictable. It can look as if it is being prevented for a while, and suddenly increase, touching lives everywhere in a negative way. By 1991, crime rate was 313% the 1960 crime rate. Chances of being a victim of crime in 1960 were 1.89%, where in 1996, the chances of being a victim raised to 5.079%. Overall, crime is increasing. It can be local, or even across the nation, but we know that it is there and is on the rise. Approximately 5% of the U.S. population are victims of crime each year. That?s around 13 million people and is unacceptable. But out of all these crimes committed, which ones are of adults and which ones are of teens?

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Crime also varies on the age of those who commit it. In the 1970s, juveniles were arrested for an average of 340 homicides and 650 rapes. In 1998, the juvenile arrest rate for homicide fell to 308 and 412 arrests for rape. It must be kept in mind that by 1998, the juvenile population was much larger. In the ?70s, a teenager was three times more likely to get arrested for a felony than an adult. However, these days, the odds for both adults and teens to get arrested are about even. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that the older the population got, the more increase they showed in violent crime rates. Mike Males, a Sociology instructor at UC Santa Cruz reports that adult crime has skyrocketed in the past 20 years, where in the same time period, juvenile crime declines. So maybe teen crime and violence isn?t increasing as much as many people thought. Crime in the U.S. is not completely teenagers? fault. Not all teens who commit crimes wish to stay that way. Many plan on changing, but need help. So what type of help can be offered to those that sincerely want to change? What can we do?
To prevent the crime rate from going on even further, we have to start at the very source of the problem. Most troubled teens who go on and commit crimes usually had a rough childhood. Many not living in a very good neighborhood and feeling as if no one cares for them can mess them up emotionally and grow up to be one of the teens that get arrested each year. Neighborhoods should start early childhood programs or even after school programs for when the kids get a little older that promote non-violence in the community. Teaching the youth can be beneficial to everyone in the neighborhood, as they will see a drop in the crime rate from teens. However, this shouldn?t be all we should do. A percentage of teens that grew up to commit crimes had abusive and neglectful parents. Consistent parenting skills decreases the probability of a child being involved in criminal activity. Parents should try their hardest to raise their children to be well educated and violence free. They shouldn?t fight or argue in front of their kids, for every time they do, a bad lesson is burned into the mind of the young, growing up and exercising what they learned from their parents. All this and more can be done and we will start seeing a positive change in our communities. Fewer kids will be on the streets wasting their lives away in gangs terrorizing the neighborhood. Slowly but surely we?ll see a change.
Crime is something that is taking over many youths in America. Adults and teens have different crime rates, and both can be prevented with a little help from all of us.
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