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Juvenile Delinquency - Causes and Control

Updated on February 10, 2013

What is Juvenile Delinquency

Crime committed by children and adolescents under statutory age is called juvenile delinquency. A juvenile delinquent is one who is a minor with major problems. The age limit and also the meaning of delinquency vary in most countries, but it is always below 18 years. Generally, any person between the ages 7 to 18, who violates the law, is considered as delinquent and persons above this age are considered as criminals. The incidence of delinquency is rising amongst the girls also.

Juvenile delinquency is one of the most serious problems of our times. It basically means anti-social behavior. The different forms of delinquent behavior include loitering, loafing, pick-pocketing, stealing, gambling, sexual offences like eve teasing, etc. The rate of delinquency is rising very fast all over the world and one of the main suspected reasons could be the negligence of parents.

Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile Delinquency

Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

Some of the causes of juvenile delinquency include the following:

  1. Family – Almost all research workers have accepted that families of delinquents are characterized by discords, desertions and divorces. Such families have been pointed out as one of the main causes of delinquency.
  2. Peer Group – To those in sore need of a substitute for family love and group-belongingness, the peer group or the gang presents itself as a kind of close knit unit that will solve the purpose.
  3. Neighborhood – The immediate environments of a child also affect the trend he will adopt in connection with his personality. It has been seen that more delinquents come from slums and thickly populated areas.
  4. Educational Curriculum – Although schools and educational institutes are playing an increasingly important role in the training and upbringing of future citizens, they are also contributing towards many cases on juvenile delinquency. Delinquents are typically non-bookish and non-academic individuals who take studies like a burden. When they fail in exams and get scolded by their family, they tend to indulge themselves in delinquent acts.
  5. Poverty and Democracy – Poverty and democracy are also the major contributing factors towards juvenile delinquency. People indulge themselves in delinquent acts in order to meet and satisfy the primary wants of their life. Democratic orders also increase delinquency.

How to control Juvenile Delinquency

Following are some of the suggestions for the prevention of juvenile delinquency:

  1. Accept the delinquent as a person in his own right, and give affection and security.
  2. Watch for the signs of maladjustment; early treatment may prevent this maladjustment from taking a delinquent trend.
  3. Providing the child with a variety of experiences like music and dance, art and craft, etc. can serve the purpose.
  4. Attempt to build-up a stable system of moral and social values.
  5. Reject the delinquent behavior without rejecting the delinquent.
  6. Encourage the child to talk about and admit the existence of anti-social tendencies.
  7. Change the conditions of home, school and community that seem to give rise to such behavior.
  8. Give a potential delinquent some post of special responsibility, such as task of preventing other children from committing delinquent acts.
  9. Once a delinquent act has been detected, never pass it over. Make clear to the child that he has done something wrong, but do not punish him harshly.
  10. Minimize the chances of a child’s going wrong by putting the smallest possible number of temptations in his way.

Thus, parents and the other family members, and the teachers in school can do a lot in the prevention and controlling of juvenile delinquency.

Do you think there should be tougher laws for Juveniles especially for serious crimes?

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    • jose7polanco profile image

      Jose Misael Polanco 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      We all commit crimes, but juveniles receive far more attention because they tend to do those crimes that local police focus on more (gang, vandalism, curfew) and because young adolescents lack adult experience to shield themselves against police investigation and therefore fall more quickly.

    • anujagarwal profile image

      Anuj Agarwal 6 years ago from Noida

      You have pointed out right that when a child does not get much attention and feels ignorant then there are more chances for that child to become aggressive and indulges into juvenile delinquency.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      I totally concur with your analysis regarding juvenile delinquency. However, the two MAIN components that determine greater likelihood of a child and/or adolescent becoming a juvenile delinquent is impoverished conditions and large families. Studies have shown that poor children from large families are twice as likely to become juvenile delinquents because of few financial resources and none or very little parental attention.