Crime in the United States

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| | |Violent Crime in America | |Street Violence and Boston’s Dorchester Youth: | |A Program Review | | |

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” – Romiette 1987

Introduction
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Massachusetts year 2000 estimated population is 6,200,000, ranking 13th in population size compared to the other 49 states[1]. Youth age 19 years and under represent 27 percent of the total population in Massachusetts with youth ages 11 to 15 comprise 26 percent of the youth population, youth ages 16 to 17 represent 10 percent of youth, and youth ages 18 to 19 encompass an additional 10 percent of the youth population1. The Census Bureau approximates that by 2002, the population of youth aged 17 years and under will increase by 5 percent, representing an increase of almost 70,000 youth1. The Census Bureau further estimates the Massachusetts population of young people between 14 and 17 years old will increase 30 percent by 2005, representing an increase of approximately 87,000 youth1.

Boston is a well know and thriving metropolitan. It is the capital and largest city of Massachusetts and attracts millions of tourists from around the world each year. Boston’s communities are very diverse and consist of many multifaceted Bostonians. Throughout Boston’s elongated history there lays an alarming trend in increasing crime among youth in Boston’s inner city’s which have become a state wide concern. Crime is seen as having a ripple effect on people because violence has an effect on everyone. Violence kills more people under the age of 65 than do cancer and heart disease, the two illnesses that are mistakenly thought to be the most significant causes of death (Gilligan 527).

Children have been described as our future, our greatest resource, and our hope for a better tomorrow. For many Americans, though, children invoke fear. They represent violence, a segment of society lacking in self-control and devoid of ethics and morals, and the failure of the family to instill traditional values, top among them being the value of human life and respect for others. Juvenile crime is a recurring problem in the United States (page 309)[2]. The increase in violent juvenile crime from the late 1980s to the early 1990s alarmed the nation2. This paper will focus on one of Boston’s toughest neighborhood, Dorchester. By using existing research and theoretical literature, I will focus discuss some programs that may deter juveniles from committing crime.

Juvenile Justice
A juvenile is defined as not yet adult, young, childish, and immature. In the United States, definitions and age limits of juveniles vary. The first U.S. juvenile court was established in Chicago in 1899 with the enactment of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act (page 311)[3]. The juvenile justice system tries to treat and rehabilitate young people who become involved in delinquency.

To best deal with any problem, we must first understand why it occurs. Explaining why crime and delinquency occur is a complex task. Many factors exist that contribute to the understanding of what leads someone to engage in delinquent behavior. While explanations involving biological and psychological factors hold, some merit when explaining...
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