Crime: Affects People of All Ages

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Crime is something that affects people of all ages, whether you're a victim, or an offender. Adolescence and early adulthood are times of change when young people face new challenges, grow and become increasing vulnerable. As a result they tend to engage themselves in criminal behaviour in an attempt to adapt to these changes they are experiencing. Hence the belief that young people or at last specific groups of young people are out to cause trouble is not a new phenomenon, when in reality most of them mean no harm. However young people are also more vulnerable and more likely to be a victim of crime than a predator of crime. The age grouped covered by the term “youth” may be between about 10 years old, or late primary to about 25 or early adulthood. At home, at school, and in public places, youths are victimized by assault, rape, robbery, and other crimes as they often have limited knowledge of their rights and where they may seek help. That being, a youth is at more of a risk of being a victim of crime than the cause of the crime as a predator.

There are many reasons why young people may involve themselves in criminal behaviour. These may stem from reasons including a lack of discipline at home and in school, peer pressure, violence at home, bullying and alienation or even having learning difficulties. On the other hand Rohan (2007) argues that "a lot of young people are very bored and many may be living in situations where they don't really care what happens to them," and therefore turn to crime as an escape. During adolescence risk taking behaviour is more common as teens want excitement, to try things out and be rebellious. Adolescents tend to engage in riskier behaviour despite understanding the risks involved, as they feel “invincible” during this age. They may experiment with illicit drugs, drink alcohol while undergo, or drive vehicles without a license and before reaching the legal age limit. Young people may also congregate in public places and on public transport and engage in behaviour that is antisocial or a public nuisance. However once they get into that cycle and commit an offence, some may find it very hard to get out of and therefore continue being a predator of crime instead of a victim.

The fact that young people tend to seek out and cluster in groups of their peers is an important factor. Needs for self-esteem and security leads to youths spending more time away from home and at places that offer increased risk of involvement in violence such as participation in social events and the formation of gangs. The influence of peers can, for example, heavily impact on young people’s risk-taking behaviour (Hay, Payne & Chadwick 2004), being a major negative force in their lives and often resulting in their experimentation with, alcohol, and illegal drugs or other illegal activities. Adolescents rely a great deal upon their peers for guidance and support. Sometimes this is the wrong path to take as individuals let their so-called "friends" talk them into doing things that they would not normally do such as drugs and theft. Similarly, impulsive, violent behaviour derives from youth gangs. “Youth gangs” range from harmless groups of young people who simply hang around together to those engaged in serious law breaking”(White, 2002) where youths engage in planned and profitable criminal behaviour or organized violence. Most youths become attracted to gangs by peer pressure, “hanging out on street corners while drinking beer, smoking and chatting along with taking drugs and attending illegal raves” (Marmo, Lint & Palmer, 2012). Youth gangsters will pressure peers into becoming part of a gang by making it sound exciting and will often promise popularity in exchange for their loyalty. Gang membership increases the likelihood and frequency that members will commit serious and violent crimes (Huff 1998) as youths make an effort to impress their fellow peers to gain peer acceptance, and social status...
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