In the 1990s, juvenile delinquency has become a major global problem. The rising incidence of juvenile delinquency in many countries may be caused by certain socio-economic problems often associated with development. These includes; poverty, rapid population growth, unemployment, urbanization, industrialization, inadequate shelter and housing, youth unemployment, and under employment, breakdown of the family unit, inadequate provision of social services and inability of the educational system to respond to new challenges.
From the word “juvenile delinquency”, “juvenile” means young people while delinquency means young offenders that are guilty of minor crime or misdeed. Juvenile delinquency as defined by Carter and Hill (1979) means offences committed by young people – theft, smuggling, prostitution, drug trafficking, robbery, raping, violence etc.while Oxford Advanced Learners English dictionary (1869) defined Juvenile delinquency as the offences committed by people below the ages of legal responsibility. It may also be refers to as either violent or non-violent crime committed by persons who are usually under the age of eighteen. In addition juvenile crime has caused much concern in recent time not only because of the rise in its rate of occurrence, but because of its accompanying implications. International studies demonstrates that the higher the level of urbanization of a country, the greater the level of criminality. As Shelley,(1980) confirms, “the soviet union also conforms to the internationally established correlation between the level of urbanization and the recorded crime rate”. Increased urbanization has led to the concentration of people into fewer larger centres thus increasing the opportunities for crimes against persons and property respectively (Harries1974). The trend in Nigeria largely conforms to the issues raised above. Given twenty thousand population as the UNO official criteria for determining an urban centres, Nigeria had an average growth rate of 6% between 1953 and 1963, 19.3% of the population of the country were largely living in the urban centre. Empirical study of the ever increasing rural/ urban migration in the country shows the growth trend of urban centres to be more alarming now than the 1953-1963 figures revealed (Onyemelukwe, 1982). In the same vein juvenile crime are serious problems all over the world. This intensity and gravity depends mostly on the social, economic and cultural conditions in each country. There are evidences, however of an apparent worldwide increase in juvenile criminality combined with economic recession, especially in marginal sectors of urban centres. In many cases, youth offenders are “street children” who as been exposed to violence in their immediate social environment either as observer or as victim. Also, there are many different inside influences that are believed to affect the way a child act both negatively and positively, these are abandonment, social institutions and peer pressure. It is noteworthy that the quality of the environment can be determined through the physical, cultural, socio-economic condition of humans life which are the bedrock of planning objectives, that is, the interest of people’s life is of utmost concern to the planners of nowadays. In view of this, the research work will be centred on assessment of juvenile delinquencies in Nigerian urban centres, with a view to finding solution to the identified problems. 1.2STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In the African region, juvenile crime and delinquency have remained primarily the urban problems. The occurrence of juvenile delinquency in many countries may be as a result of certain socio-economic problem often associated with development which includes: poverty, rapid population growth, inadequate shelter and housing, youth unemployment, industrialization, urbanization and also breakdown of the family unit. The...