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Youth Crime - Criminology Diploma 9.
***Before you continue to read this Hub may I mention that this is my work, written in my words for my Criminology Diploma. By all means read the Hub and absorb it's content but please don't plagiarize my work and present it as your own work towards your own diploma. This has been added as a request from a tutor/examiner of the Criminology Diploma program.***
9.1 Analyse why youths turn to crime.
Imagine a child, a wanted child, born and brought up within a loving and caring family, a family that works and plays together. This family lives in a nice home within a respected, friendly and safe neighbourhood. Dad has a good job that in turn brings in a good income, keeping the family well fed and in good health.
Now imagine an unwanted child, born and brought up within a seriously troubled home, with parents addicted to drink and drugs. Due to the incapacity of the parents, move this child about between care homes and foster homes and change the primary social worker on a regular basis. Allow the child to drop out of school and maybe run away from home and give the opportunity to develop a drug or alcohol addiction. Throw in the possibility that this child has been sexually, physically or emotionally abused. Deny this child any help.
Which child would be most likely to turn to crime?
Although both could totally refrain from any criminal activities or both could turn to crime, it would be more likely that the child from the troubled home would.
Families are a vital source of love, care and support for young people, helping them develop their personal strengths and relationships and to build self-esteem and feel secure. Having support contributes to the development of problem solving skills so that when problems do arise they can be dealt with or passed on to someone who is capable of solving them. In cases where the family can’t or won’t provide these vital needs it is important that someone outside the family can, this may be a teacher, a sporting coach or even a friends parent.
Schooling is important; along with general education, it assists in helping young people make decisions about their future. Any education or training needs to be appropriate for the individuals and therefore needs to be timely and meaningful to that individual. Following on from education is employment; the means of earning ones keep and building self-esteem; gaining a sense of security and learning life skills. Young people want to be productive and will live in the hope that there will be job opportunities for them when the time comes. Without the chance to work for a living one could turn to illicit means of earning their needed money.
Living in a safe, stable and healthy environment naturally encourages young people to live healthy lives. We all need to look after our own physical health, to understand and control our feelings and emotions and to deal with all lives problems that get thrown at us. Without these comforts and support, young people will not be prepared and won’t know how to react to emotions such as anger, confusion, frustration or depression, which could possible push one towards crime.
Young people do want to fit in, to feel that they are a necessary and wanted part of something, to have a sense of belonging. Dependant on where these values are sought could determine whether or not the youngster would turn towards crime. For example, should one want to fit in with a sporting, youth or social club or maybe take part in some type of after school activities then the peer pressure from any associates, team mates or coaches would be positive and lead one to act in similar positive, good ways. On the other hand, fitting in with a gang who hang around street corners, whose members have no incentive to do anything positive but loiter and cause concern, maybe drinking alcohol and smoking and possibly taking drugs? The peer pressures in instances like this are totally negative and could lead to one follow these ways and maybe venture further towards criminal acts.
Today’s youth can be affected and directed by the media, a very strong force that can affect all of us, it can influence what we do, what we wear, how we look, how we act, it can change our beliefs and influence our thoughts. Media can both glorify and demonise youth culture; young people need to be vigilant in the way they react to what the media tells them. Similar to the media; films, video games and music can have the same influencing effects by promoting criminal acts.
Some youngsters are drawn towards criminal behaviour simply due to boredom and the lack of something positive or gainful to do, such as recreational and leisure activities, this issue could possible be overcome by more supportive action from the affected community.
9.2 Evaluate the role of the community in supporting youth and preventing youth crime.
A child’s learning begins at home with the family but some families do face challenges that make it difficult or even impossible for them to provide the support and opportunities that their children need. Some families may struggle financially, be fighting addictions or suffer physical isolation and violence. Some may not possess literacy or numeracy skills to assist a child’s development, and may have limited access to the social services system. It must be within the role of the community to respond to such cases by arranging access to special services such as parental classes, early childhood educational programmes, affordable or free recreational opportunities, accessible day care, the list goes on.
School life is probably the most important section of our early learning life; it is necessary to ensure that all children attend and that each child is given the attention needed to get the best out of them. Teachers and coaches also need the necessary training to do their jobs to the best of their ability, they also need to be capable of noticing problems with their pupils and how to deal with such problems. We all have qualities, some good, some not so good, finding a young persons good qualities at an early stage is important as these could be nurtured and maybe used to determine what type of employment that person should be looking for. Jobs need to be made available for the school leaver, either fully productive or paid training, without any prospect of work, the recent school leaver would have twenty four hours of idle time each and every day which could lead to mischief.
Young people do want to feel part of their community, they want to be accepted; they want to feel needed; they want to gain feelings of achievement; they want the sense of belonging, self-worth and self-esteem. For this to happen, their community must accept them, treat them with some respect, react to their needs and give them opportunity to prove their worth. It is also equally important to show recognition to any goals and successes that have been reached. This should be a two-sided affair and young people in return need to respect and look after their own community. Should these young people not be accepted within their community, they will seek acceptance elsewhere and would possibly rebel against the community that has shunned them, probably with criminal acts.
Recreation and leisure activities such as sport, music, theatre, libraries and youth clubs not only keep young people occupied, active and healthy, they also provide them with a wealth of skills, positive social interactions, and meaningful activities. They can also introduce concepts such as teamwork, cooperation, conflict resolution and so on. Clubs and groups can also provide strong positive peers that young people can look up to and follow by lead.
Volunteer activities can also assist in teaching young people many necessary and valuable life skills. Not all youngsters will develop a high academic ability, those who don’t could excel in other areas possibly in cases where practical skill are more important than academic ones. Support from the community is paramount on this concern, it needs to provide recreational, leisure and volunteer programmes that are accessible and affordable to all who would wish to use them.
So if a community, along with families, friends and teachers can support their young people in all aspects of their lives, assisting with their basic needs, emotions, education, recreation, and health issues, then youth crime within that community should be greatly reduced.
Any comments welcome!